Half-Measures

Availed Us Nothing

The term “half-measures” is familiar to most recovering addicts, if only because it is mentioned in the first part of chapter 5 of the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1976), which is read before many Twelve-Step meetings. It says, “Half-measures availed us nothing” (p. 59).

The concept of half-measures does not mean doing half what is theoretically possible. Recovery requires some kind of compromise in most areas. This includes, for example, how much time you spend “working the program.” It is possible to spend too much time on recovery activities, like meetings. More often, addicts try to recover with an inadequate amount of time or effort.

Your attitude may be that you just need a technique for controlling your drinking, stopping drug-related arrests, succeeding in weight loss, or you simply need to be rid of the inconvenience of excessive use, bingeing, or purging so you can get on with your life. If so you are not likely to follow through with all you need for recovery. The Twelve-Step programs were designed for those who have decided that recovery is vital, not just something nice to have.

Half-measures are more than just not quite doing enough. They represent a delusion that a totally inadequate effort is OK. With recovery, follow-through is important. The addiction wants you to give lip service to recovery tasks, so you should be sure your effort is enough to get you into good recovery, one day at a time.


Half-measures, see also: Abstinence, Acceptance, Codependency, Crisis, Defenses, Delusion, Habit & structure, Hitting bottom, Honesty, Intervention, Meetings, Moderation, Paradoxes in addiction, Powerlessness, Priorities, Progression, Relapse prevention, Step One, Step Three, Stinking thinking, Surrender, Unmanageability.

Updated 9 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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