It has been my experience that two things trip up a recovering alcoholic. Those two things are good luck, and bad luck.
I put forward the notion that just saying no to alcohol might not work as well as one might suppose. That thought is based in the concept that this disease is manifest in the phenomenon of craving more once I begin drinking, that is true to be sure, but another far more insidious game is also at play here.
Picture this if you will...
A guy stops drinking, he feels better, he has more money in his pocket, he gets or keeps the girlfriend, he gets a nice car, and a decent place to live. Things are really starting to look up. Then one day, he's sitting around the tube watching a ball game with his buddies. Or at a barbq, or out fishing, etc. Etc. His buds are enjoying a few beers with impunity, and he says to himself "maybe i've made too hard a go of this not drinking business, maybe I pulled the plug on myself too soon, it wasn't that bad, I can have just one."
it's like watching a man pick up to a hand grenade and pull the pin. I have seen this scenario or something very much like it play it's self out way too many times. That's the good luck scenario.
The bad luck one goes something like this, a man reaches over to tie his shoe and the lace breaks, he has been working on a case of the f*** it's for a while, no liquor to smooth out the rough spots, and he drinks at his broken lace. Mostly a man doesn't drink over the big things, it's the little disappointments that add up, and in response he makes a bad decision.
It's difficult to be technically precise about the nature of what the big book calls a spiritual malady. But spend almost any time in the trenches of this disease and we gain insight into it's subtle and tragic manifestations.
I wish everyone nothing but success in this common struggle. But a wise man would be well advised to have someone he can drop a dime on himself to. Have someone he can tell the whole truth to when the notion that maybe he can drink just one, just this once. Every man I have ever worked with has had that thought run across his mind at one time or another. It sure ran across mine early in the game. At that time someone needed to tell me to remember what it was like the day before I showed up. The human mind has a marvelous capacity to remember the good stuff, and minimize the really crappy parts. I can see that sooner in someone else than I can in myself. I need the other mans perspective and insight.