"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely." That powerful quote comes from the chapter titled "How It Works" from the book Alcoholics Anonymous. It seems to me that desperation is an alcoholics best friend when it comes to letting go. In the early days of AA when most members were late stage alcoholics who wanted to stop drinking but were unable to do so a key question was asked: Are you willing to do whatever it takes and whatever we suggest in order to stop?". It's easier to say "yes" to that question if you know you're going to lose everything or die if you don't.
Now many people approach recovery with some ambivalence: : "I think I'd like to stop but I really can't change that many things because of all my responsibilities.". They view their drinking as somewhat of a problem and all they need is a bit of help managing it. The fortunate thing is that when they're ready to drop their "old ideas" and "let go absolutely" AA will be waiting for them with open arms.