Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Again the steps are being used for just about any compulsion you could think of. For simplicity we will mostly focus on the original 12 step program, Alcoholics Anonymous.

If I am powerless over something, doesn’t that mean there is nothing I can do about it?

Yes. That’s right. If you are an Alcoholic (powerless over alcohol) or an addict (powerless over drugs) or for that matter in many cases powerless over both, this is acknowledging that once you start to drink or use you have little or no control over how much you take or when you are able to stop.

What does “our lives had become unmanageable” mean?

When you have become powerless over a substance, this will usually create havoc in your personal relationships with family, friends, and work. This is about looking at your life honestly and asking yourself “Has Alcohol or drugs affected my life in a negative way”? Denial is often the thing that will prevent us from being totally honest about this.

I have a good job and a nice car and home how is this powerless and unmanageable?

The thing about substance abuse and other obsessions is that the material is the last place that shows unmanageability. The disease (dis-ease) starts on the inside and works its way out from there. This is why many young people are able to get into recovery as long as they are honest enough to see that it is an “inside job”. Losing your job, losing your family, these are usually the last things to go before you lose your life.

How important is this step?

All of the twelve steps are important. But because all the steps that follow are built on top of this one, it is the foundation for all the work to come. This would make step one very important. It has been said that you will need to get 100% on this one and a passing grade on the rest. This little cliché suggests the importance of step one.