The Twelve stages of an Alcoholic

John D. Mudie, Ph.D.,

Life is but a walking stage

And each alcoholic plays twelve parts in turn.

Being free to start recovery at any stage.

First the child,

Amassing unconscious years of sobriety

Then the normie
sipping appropriately,

Then the crossed‑the‑line
hiding his booze.

Next the drunkard
reeling and lurching

Eventually the derelict hitting bottom.
Then by the Grace of God,

The newcomer
resisting, kicking and screaming.

The service junkie
appears, busy, busy, busy.

The book‑thumper,
pounding and preaching.

Next the five‑year crazies,
bottom falling out.

Slowly serenity begins to appear.

The bleeding deacon is next,
“The only way is my way”

and at last, maybe,
Old timer,
detached and serene (mostly),
Respected by all.

Position of honor
In an AA funeral.

                         And when I realize I am at one of these stages,
I remember my old sponsor reassuring me by saying,
“John, you are just where you are supposed to be.”

                                           Keep Coming Back


I wish to thank William Shakespeare for writing the “All the worlds a stage” monologue Shakespeare (2019 ,  Scene VII, Line 139)
I also wish to thank Bill Wilson and Dr Robert Smith and the fellowship of AA and Bob Baker for inspiring the actions which resulted in some of the stages described in this paper.


Shakespeare, W. (2019). As you like it (pp. 19-80). Routledge.