The First Step Takes Honesty. And Guts

first step

The First Step…

“We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

— Step 1: The Twelve Steps 

First StepA person doesn’t typically wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll become a drug addict or alcoholic today.” In fact, most people won’t admit — or even realize — they’re caught up in addiction until the progression is well underway. For many people addiction builds slowly over time and realization doesn’t come until consequences begin to expose the unmanageability of their lives. Usually other people see it long before the addict does. Eventually consequences emerge that not even the addict can deny, at least not inwardly.

Outward consequences are things like relational difficulties with family and friends, job problems, legal issues, and often financial concerns. Inwardly, the consequences are just as severe: Emotional turmoil like depression and anxiety grows, physical well-being is adversely affected, and spiritual values like honesty, integrity, and truth-to-self suffers too.

These are all things that expose the reality that life has become unmanageable. It can be pretty amazing for outsiders looking in to see just how far the addict will let life spin out of control. The addict is often the last to realize, and certainly the last to admit, that he or she has fallen deep into the grips of addiction. 

This is why the very first step towards recovery has to do with admission. “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction…” That “our lives had become unmanageable” is usually already evident by this point. But for us to admit this and our powerlessness over the beast of addiction, now that’s the watershed event — the very first and most essential step. The steps are numbered in order by design and it could be said that step one is the hinge upon which all the other steps swing.

Admitting powerlessness requires the full realization that the substance is greater than you. If you don’t have the disease of addiction, then you aren’t powerless. If you do have the disease, then you are powerless and it really is just that simple.

So, step one: Are you powerless? Are the signs of unmanageability evident to others? Are they evident to you? Then step one is to admit this. If you can admit it, there’s hope: You can live a life beyond your wildest dreams completely free from the chains and lies of addiction. But the first way to win is to surrender. Winning and surrendering seem like mutually exclusive themes but when it comes to addiction, surrender is the only passage to freedom and newness of life. Ask yourself: Is this step relevant to me? If so, tell a friend in recovery. Or feel free to contact us. We’re always here to help.

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