Step 1 of the 12 steps of AA reads as follows:
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Beginning the Recovery Journey
Step 1 is the first step in the recovery process. It is a step toward a healthier, more satisfying life, and when healing finally starts.
Engaging in the 12 steps is also commonly referred to as “working” them because it requires motivation, immediate actions, and effort. The 12 steps of AA have been compared to milestones put out thoughtfully on a path by individuals who have recovered before us to guide us on our mission. The journey is often frightening from the viewpoint of a person initially, but, luckily, at this time, we are only to do this one step, one day at a time.
For those who are fortunate, our journey now has led us to the point of surrender. For many, their entire history of being ultimately led to the first step and has been enough to establish that complete surrender (powerlessness over alcohol) is the only valid option.
For many entering recovery, walking into an addiction treatment center or Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for the first time is a substantial part of “working” the first step. This simple act of asking for help is just an admission of powerlessness and the inability to control alcohol use.
Many alcoholics and drug addicts experience intense feelings of guilt, shame, regret, and self-loathing when they walk into an AA meeting. They’ve also become used to hiding the full extent of their problem from almost everyone. Thus, opening up about the nature and severity of one’s alcohol-obsessed behavior is unknown territory. It may even feel entirely unnatural, and many people often don’t want to do it.
Sharing one’s experiences and inability to control oneself regarding alcohol can remove the burden of dealing with them covertly and alone. Revealing secrets can free individuals and help them move forward into a better life. For many, the mere act of sharing in an AA group meeting is the true essence and beginning of the recovery process.
Achieving sobriety is also a requirement for beginning work on the first step. The first step is about examining the impact of alcohol abuse in one’s life and what is needed to be abstinent. Each person will have to find a way to stop alcoholic behaviors with an attitude that isn’t muddied by alcoholic thinking.
If you’ve been abstinent for some time already, then the first step is about admitting powerlessness over prior actions that have made your life unmanageable.
Responsibility and Acceptance
Each person in recovery’s responsibility is to remain actively involved in sobriety and their sponsor’s guidance. It is our responsibility to maintain our willingness to do so. It’s critical to understand that you are not wholly “powerless,” however, as we can all participate in the recovery process, and we have the power to decide not to use drugs or drink alcohol. The truth is that you are powerless over alcohol or other substances if you choose to put them in your body and thereby control your life.
Acceptance occurs when an individual experiences peace and hope in acknowledging our addiction and the need for recovery. We are no longer afraid of a future filled with meeting attendance, sponsor communication, and working through the steps. Instead, we begin to discover that recovery is indeed a priceless gift and not meant to be the bane of our existence.
Engaging in the steps can promote serenity and help people embrace the fact that AA is not just a program where those who are suffering get well. It is a means of living that is rewarding and fruitful in and of itself. Having a solid foundation in recovery by working the steps can provide an individual with loving, understanding friendships to accompany them in their journey.
Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction
AA is a fellowship that has helped and supported countless individuals recover from alcohol addiction over the last few decades. That said, evidence has shown that recovery outcomes are significantly improved when group support is used in combination with a customized, comprehensive treatment program, such as those offered by Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery.
Our compassionate staff members are highly trained in addiction and mental health. They are dedicated to providing those we treat with the education and tools they need to recover fully and enjoy long-lasting health and wellness.