The Addict Alcoholic and the First Part of Step One

“Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol… ”  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 59

There are moments when we can look at our lives, and there’s no question to us that everything seems completely and utterly amiss.    It’s easy to think, “Of course my life is unmanageable; here I am in a California rehab for alcohol and drugs.  It doesn’t get much more unmanageable than that.”   What might be missing in this thought process is the understanding of the first half of the First Step.  If we take a moment to really read the Step, it’s broken up into two distinct parts, both requiring a complete understanding and subsequently an experience beyond words solidifying their respective definitions.

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol…”  What does that really mean?  Alcohol and drugs became our master and insidiously insured that we would do whatever we could, whenever we could, however we could have those items to imbibe at any cost.  Perhaps there were times when we wanted to stop drinking and/or taking drugs but no matter how hard we tried to marshal our very will to not to smoke that pipe or pop that pill or stick the needle in our veins or drink that fifth, we could not stop.  What’s more powerless than being sucked back into taking actions we don’t want to take and yet continuing them as if there is no tomorrow?  Where, suddenly, as life is taking a turn for the better, or for the worse, or having very little change at all, we find ourselves drinking and/or drugging with complete abandon, all the while thinking, “I want to stop.  Please help me stop.” and we simply just cannot.

This is a sense of Powerlessness that surpasses anything tangible.  It is a deep set, intrinsic understanding that reinforces the concept and feeling that there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, we can do to control this.  In effect, we are at its full mercy, beholden to its wicked, strangling grasp.  An essence of Powerlessness that surpasses anything we could have ever imagined.

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