Thinking it Through

The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program has gifted us many profound concepts, one of which has far-reaching implications beyond overcoming addiction: “Think through the drink!”

The Concept Explained

The premise of “thinking through the drink” isn’t just about craving a sip. Rather, it’s about envisioning what happens after that initial indulgence. For someone dealing with alcohol addiction, the first drink is rarely the last. It typically spirals into excessive consumption, leading the individual back down a self-destructive path.

This principle of “thinking it through” isn’t confined to alcoholism, but can serve as a practical tool for making informed choices in various aspects of life.

Applying it to Everyday Life

Faced with decisions, it’s often helpful to ask ourselves, “then what?” or “what happens next?” These questions illuminate potential consequences and bring clarity to complex situations.

The thought process aligns with the philosophies of Utilitarianism, which emphasize consideration of actions’ outcomes. Yet, many neglect this approach, bringing about avoidable complications in their lives.

A Personal Example

Reflecting on my own experience as a newcomer to AA, I recall a time when I impulsively quit my job in a moment of emotional distress, without having a back-up plan in place. I hadn’t thought it through. The repercussions of this rash decision led to financial issues that lingered for years.

Implications for Decisions Large and Small

Consider this philosophy the next time you contemplate skipping a meeting or leaving early. Apply it when you’re tempted to decline a service commitment. Simply pause and ask yourself, “then what happens?”

Digital Actions and Their Consequences

In our increasingly digital world, it’s crucial to think things through before acting online. What may seem like a harmless comment, like, or share can lead to unexpected consequences that could be detrimental.


The concept of “thinking through the drink” from AA isn’t solely about resisting the urge to drink. It’s a philosophy that urges us to anticipate and consider the potential outcomes of our actions, thereby encouraging more thoughtful, and potentially beneficial, decisions.