This is when I realized that as long as my use continued, my life was unmanageable! Again, it is a hard truth to swallow, but for one to continue on a clear decision must be made or no further progress will happen. It required a no reservations, no holds bar surrender to my disease. When powerless over alcohol I completely gave up and stopped fighting the disease to admit step one, I could precede to the next step. This is a pivotal part of the program as it is a requirement to be honest, open minded, and willing! I wish all of you the best as you embark on the spiritual trip of a life time.
You accept that you can’t continue drinking alcohol or using drugs and that you have absolutely no control when you’re using. Worldwide, alcoholics, addicts and treatment professionals embraced the Twelve Steps, and more than 35 million copies of AA’s Big Book have been distributed in over 70 languages. Over time, you and your family lose control of your thinking.
If You Are Powerless Over Your Addiction
From step one, you can continue to the rest of the 12 steps and 12 traditions. When alcoholism or alcohol use disorder begins to take control of a family, usually one of the first things to go is honesty. The person with the problem often lies about how much they drink and those around them may begin to cover for them as the problem progresses. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Not everyone uses the 12 steps, but those who do generally are very passionate about their program. Instead of railing against powerlessness or relying on unhealthy ways of getting our needs met, we can simply share our struggles and ask for help in getting our needs met. The number one character defect for most of us is that we are control freaks. If we don’t feel like we’re in control of everything in our lives, we feel like we’re out of control personally. Some other differences–taking your medication typically keeps you out of the hospital.
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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) operates under a set of 12 steps to achieve daily recovery. AA is a group of fellow recovering alcoholics who use the 12 steps and sponsorship to hold you accountable and offer you a daily reprieve from alcohol dependency. The Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Big Book states that “we were powerless over our drug problem” as its first tenet. Like AA members, NA members believe they cannot control drugs without the help of a higher power.
Our culture is so entrenched in competing for success that we’re uncomfortable acknowledging the limits of what we can and cannot do, individually. That’s a warning sign that you may have a problem–if you can’t deal with life without the addiction in question. If you must have the addiction to feel normal, beware, you may be powerless over your addiction. What does “powerless” mean when it comes to alcoholism/addiction?
Why We Don’t Use the Term “Alcoholic”
The only way to break that vicious cycle is by getting honest about your relationship with alcohol. It’s about admitting that alcohol controls you, and not the other way around. The only way to heal an illness is to admit that it is a disease, which is exactly what you do when you embrace Step 1 of AA and admit that you’re powerless over alcohol. The above statement is the First Step of AA, NA and other Twelve-Step support groups and is considered to be the most important. If the addict cannot complete this initial step, truly recovering from the devastating effects of substance abuse and addiction will not be possible.
Even in sobriety, many of us tend not to respect our limitations and we pay too high a price accordingly. Join Recovery Connection in celebrating your recovery with our sobriety calculator. “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.”
Digging a bit deeper it’s clear that we become powerless to control ourselves and the manageability of our lives when we drink. Denial is a classic symptom of addiction, especially in the form of justification. In other words, “You’d drink too if you had my life” is a warning sign of powerlessness over addiction. So is, “How is taking a drink to calm down different from taking medication to calm down?” If you have to justify your use of the substance, you may have a problem. Recognizing powerlessness over addiction is the first step to freedom–both literally and in literature.
This magic elixir, a cure all for my plentiful emotional ailments. My perceived social faux pas and devoted mask to face my biggest foe; self-imposed social scrutiny. We live in a society that tells us we should be able to figure out our problems and overcome challenges on our own; that if we can’t, we’re weak.
Are you Powerless Over Alcohol?
I frequently remarked when life got tough, “This is why I drink.” The people around us have a stronger influence on our decisions and actions than we realize. Here’s what research reveals about our networks’ gravitational force. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon Family Groups present some great insight into the healing principles of the 12 steps.
Because it all begins with Step 1 of AA, it’s very important to understand why you can’t skip this step, even though it doesn’t require specific physical actions. All of this culminates in my choice not to take responsibility for the feelings, beliefs, and actions of others. It allows me to focus more fully on what I am able to offer to myself and others that is healthy, sustainable, and satisfying. This acceptance creates more harmony and allows me to relate to myself in a far more loving manner. To admit or even be mindful of powerlessness is a rarity outside of recovery.