A woman is thinking about her drinking problem with a blue background

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

-Alcoholics Anonymous, page 59

It is often quite easy for us to admit we have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. A lot of us even use it as some sort of twisted badge of honor. Admitting that we are powerless and that our lives are unmanageable, however, often is quite more difficult for most of us.

This admission of defeat certainly goes against our human nature. It is often said around the A woman contemplates her life over a glass of wine rooms that this is the only step that needs to be done perfectly 100% of the time, and for a very good reason. For if we do not admit our powerlessness and maintain this admission, it is only a matter of time until we once again lose everything with a relapse.

The first step is broken down into two principle components – powerlessness, and unmanageability. It is often quite difficult for us to admit powerlessness over a liquid/powder/etc, but we only need to look at our own lives with an honest eye to see it. While those who are not powerless over substances will simply stop at the first sign of consequences (legal trouble, health issues, etc), the true problem drinker/user will continue on despite them.

This phenomenon is exactly why the definition of insanity is often spoken around the rooms – doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results. Another common example that demonstrates our powerlessness is the realization that it is not the 5th, 6th, 7th, etc drink/drug that gets us in trouble – it is the very first one. It is the very first drink/drug that gets us into trouble, because once introduced to our system we are seemingly powerless over the events that follow. This led to the popular slogan heard in the rooms, one is too many and a thousand is never enough.

The unmanageability component of step one is also often quite clear by the time we are entering treatment centers. Often our personal relationships are greatly damaged, our financial situation is in ruins, we have legal troubles, etc. While this is usually clear, often the problem drinker/user will have a blind eye connecting these problems with their substance abuse. It is often clear to everyone around us that drugs and/or alcohol are ruining our lives, despite us not seeing it.

Much like the powerlessness component of the first step, it is essential for us to make this connection in order to achieve long-term sobriety. Our love and obsession for the drink/drug will often cause us to blame just about anything else for our many woes. Once we take an honest inventory of our lives, however, it universally becomes clear what the true root of our problems is.

Final Note

One of the most important parts of the first step is often overlooked, for it is simply one word: We. This is a crucial part of the first step- it tells us that we are not in this predicament alone. It is only with the help of others will we find relief from the pain of drug addiction and alcoholism. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.