What Is Powerlessness? Step One of the 12-Steps of AA

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a recovered alcoholic is no longer powerless over alcohol

The power is in us, they say, and in the books and programs they sell. Letting go of the past, accepting your present and opening yourself up to a new way of living isn’t an easy thing to do, especially in the beginning. The 12-step road to recovery can appear pretty intimidating to someone who is just starting out, but solutions exist.

List of Examples of Powerlessness in Sobriety

a recovered alcoholic is no longer powerless over alcohol

In recovery, we learn that it takes far more strength to surrender and admit powerlessness than it does to try to control addiction by ourselves. We’ve had good reasons to quit for good, and we continued drinking or using drugs anyway. This understanding of the word obsession explains why we keep going back to pick up the first drink or drug. It makes so much sense when we look back at our behaviors—the threat of relationships ending, poor health, work-life, bad decisions, legal trouble, etc.

Addiction and Mental Health Resources

  • Other 12-step programs include Al-Anon, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, and others.
  • Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond.
  • Your plans are subject to change once alcohol joins the party.

What distinguishes a normal drinker from an alcoholic is that an average drinker follows through with the game plan. Joe Smith sips a cocktail or two, goes home, sleeps and arrives at work fresh the next morning. You, on the other hand, were born chemically different. You have the phenomenon of craving, or, if you will, a powerlessness over alcohol. Your plans are subject to change once alcohol joins the party. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

a recovered alcoholic is no longer powerless over alcohol

Alcoholism is not even about alcohol

Although you may be powerless in the fact that you struggle with addiction and have no control over it, you are not powerless over the actions you can take because of that knowledge. By accepting the things you examples of powerlessness over alcohol cannot change and understanding that it’s possible to change the things that are within your control, you open yourself up to options that can help you heal. I have the power to engage in a program of recovery.

Why Don’t Other Peer Support Groups Identify With the Idea of Powerlessness?

But you’ve already overcome that first hurdle of getting sober and have moved into the recovery phase. Our only viable course of action was to recognize our powerlessness for what it was. Acknowledging it doesn’t relegate us to living a life imprisoned in fear, shame, or helplessness – in any context. Even when we consider the natural disasters cited above, we well know that not everyone bears the brunt of those forces of nature. Only those unfortunate enough to be in the path of destruction suffer the effects of powerlessness. By way of illustration, imagine for a moment, a group of people who live on an annual floodplain.

thehealthy.comYou are a better person now

These individuals may be staying away from alcohol, but they are not treating the underlying issues that had either led to their drinking in the first place or developed as their alcoholism progressed. There is an important distinction between being “sober” and being in “recovery”. The differences are clear to those who have experienced both phases in their healing process from alcoholism. One thing you can do to make the day-to-day process of recovery easier is to keep a consistent schedule, Dr. Heinzerling says. “Go to bed and get up at the same time, exercise every morning, meditate every night,” Dr. Heinzerling says. Sticking to a schedule can help you stay busy, avoid falling back into bad habits, and give you things to look forward to.

  • You accept that your life now largely revolves around maintaining your addiction and your addiction is now the driving force behind all your thoughts and actions.
  • This belief is what gives them hope and helps them stay sober.
  • You may leave early or continue to deny that you have a problem—relapse rates for substance abuse tend to be quite high, and it can take many tries before you’re finally able to quit.
  • If one of our articles is marked with a ‘reviewed for accuracy and expertise’ badge, it indicates that one or more members of our team of doctors and clinicians have reviewed the article further to ensure accuracy.

Admitting Powerlessness Is a Form of Strength

a recovered alcoholic is no longer powerless over alcohol

Excessive alcohol use not only leads to more than 140,000 deaths nationally each year but can also cause lives to spin out of control. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” On the surface, this concept can make it sound as though you have absolutely no control in whether or not you recover from alcohol addiction. However, AA still holds this idea for a reason https://ecosoberhouse.com/ and, in fact, the idea of powerlessness fits in many ways with the current scientific understanding of addiction. They will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read AA literature describing and interpreting the AA program. Six hours later, the bar is closing as fast as your consciousness.

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