Step 1 of AA: Admitting Powerlessness Over Alcohol

After admitting that you are powerless
over your addiction, the next steps are geared to relying on others. Admitting powerlessness means we can’t control our substance abuse. We might be able to stave off our abuse from time to time, but we start drinking or using drugs again sooner than later. As the definition says, we lack the authority or capacity to stop.

  • Only those unfortunate enough to be in the path of destruction suffer the effects of powerlessness.
  • For many people, simply getting to the first step of AA is harder than any other part of the recovery process.
  • Powerlessness was our personal experience and the insight we reached after countless times of trying to moderate or quit.
  • We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses.

Someone who seeks help for addiction is either someone who is court-ordered to, or someone who is not able to manage their drinking, and ultimately their life. Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous is often one of the most difficult for people. Whether you are attempting to get sober for the first time or you are returning to sobriety after a relapse, it can be hard to admit that you are unable to stop drinking on your own. Those who are trying to get sober sometimes feel ashamed if they slip up and have a drink. But keeping your mistakes to yourself only makes it appear like you are in control when you’re not.

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I wish all of you the best as you embark on the spiritual trip of a life time. Alcoholics Anonymous Step 1 is the beginning of a 12-step program to get and stay sober. Taking this first step and admitting you are struggling with alcohol misuse can be difficult, but it is the foundation of all positive change according to AA. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the oldest and perhaps the most recognized alcohol addiction treatment programs.

what does it mean to be powerless over alcohol

But by believing you have a problem, you can begin to overcome it. Acknowledging your powerlessness is liberating because it helps you realize the things you are powerless over so you can devote your energy to your actions–the things you can control. You may be powerless Oxford House Recovery Homes: Characteristics and Effectiveness PMC over addiction, but you aren’t powerless, period. Once you realize what you can and cannot change, you’re actually quite powerful. The main criterion for a successful First Step is a person’s acceptance that they do, indeed, have the disease of addiction.

Motivation is the key to change

It demonstrates the paradox of powerlessness and the role of surrender. The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, or DMS, lists Alcohol Use Disorders in the manual and includes 11 criteria. Only 2 of the 11 criteria have to be met to be diagnosed with the disorder.

  • Understanding powerlessness in sobriety can help you manage your addiction.
  • Members of Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon Family Groups present some great insight into the healing principles of the 12 steps.
  • This attitude will bring immediate and practical results.

Any substance or activity can be considered an addiction–from drinking to video games, addictions alter your life. If your addiction altered your life, then it has the power–you are powerless over your addiction. Your answers to the following questions will help you decide if you’re powerless over your addiction.

Understanding Powerlessness

And, it is why a codependent’s denial-type behaviors are often called “enabling” (enabling the alcoholic/alcohol abuser to continue the denial that protects their drinking). Most 12-step programs start with admitting powerlessness. For example, alcoholics Anonymous programs say that those who still believe they have control over their drinking will drink again. Only when you surrender control will you be on your way to mastering step one of the 12 steps.

  • If your substance use has ever put you in the hospital, you have a problem.
  • If you are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs or a combination of substances, you don’t have to deal with your problems alone.
  • Completing Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous can look different for everyone.

We would urge them to come to their senses, admit that they are powerless, and move to higher ground with the rest of us. That’s exactly the course of action we who have recovered from substance abuse took once we finally admitted that we are powerless over alcohol and drugs. In essence, in Step One AA you’re making a conscious choice to stop lying to yourself. You accept that you can’t continue drinking alcohol or using drugs and that you have absolutely no control when you’re using.

Step 1 in AA and Al-Anon Programs Is Honesty

The pandemic is one of them, as are natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, etc.  We become helpless in the face of overpowering forces. We feel hopelessness and despair upon seeing loved ones taken and homes and property destroyed. Anxiety, panic, depression, and guilt are never far off during these times. Natural disasters present paradigm examples of human powerlessness. However, when you admit to being powerless and to being
unable to manage your life in addiction, you open the door to recovery.

what does it mean to be powerless over alcohol

“Alcohol has been around since before the time of Christ,” I’d argue. “We know what the side effects are. We don’t know what these medications do.” I frequently remarked when life got tough, “This is why I drink.” Learn how we can help your family by calling a Treatment Advisor now. In this article, we’ll explain the language in greater detail and in simpler terms. And with the help of well-known recovery author Jeff Jay, we’ll also figure out how to actually work the Step and what it’s trying to teach us.

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