Step One – Powerless and Unmanageable
In this new series of short blog stories, we take you through the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous from our own personal experience. Each month, we’ll highlight the step and go in to how we personally deal with each of these moments in our journey.
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable
Someone once told me earlier in my sober journey that you can’t complete the steps or really get anywhere until you fully understand and believe in Step One. Breaking it down to two simple concepts: powerlessness and unmanageability.
For me, this step and mind shift is all about surrender. I remember saying to myself back in August of 2009, “I can not keep living like this, my live is spiraling out of control.” I was using drugs and alcohol every day and night of the week, I could not stop. Once I made the decision to drink and use drugs, I was done. The next day was already gone, wasted. I would not show up to work, I would cancel meetings, whatever I was supposed to do or had really intended to do was going to be ruined.
I was powerless over the effect that drugs and alcohol had on me.
I wanted to feel different, I wanted to be someone I wasn’t; and towards the end, I wanted to numb the pain of being a drug addict and alcoholic. I didn’t want to face who I was truly was. And at the very tip was a scared, insecure and powerless man.
How truly powerless was I? I thought about this quite often. I made daily deals with myself. I would stop drinking hard liquor on the weekends, I would only drink beer (I hated beer), I would only do cocaine 1x p/ weekend (how insane does that sound?), I would not drink on Fridays and Saturdays (only to get doubly hammered on Sundays and Mondays.) I would stay in one night a week, which meant I would go out during the day. I made senseless deals that were broken daily. Sadly, alcohol and drugs owned me and owned my life.
I also thought about how unmanageable my life had become. I was in a great job that I hated and was never showing up for. I kept distancing myself from my family and brothers, whom I loved very much. I kept zero promises. I was unreliable to everyone. I was $70K in credit card debt. The only friends I had, were using friends that didn’t care about me. My true friends didn’t want to be around me when I was drunk, which was quite often. Any romantic relationship I had, was over within months. That’s not the kind of life path that your parents hope for you. My life had become an unmanageable mess!
My life was a complete disaster.
I was powerless over alcohol and powerless over drugs. How could I fix it? That was a question that often popped in to my mind towards the end.
I had to keep telling myself that I was powerless over alcohol, powerless over drugs. I told myself I didn’t want to live like this. I told myself that my life was completely unmanageable and that everything I touched broke because of my alcohol and drug use. I finally put my hands up in the air and said, “I’m done – I surrender.” I turned to the only One I knew could help. I called out for God..
Side Note: Today, and ironically for me, the word powerless is so powerful. I own that word, I own the fact that alcohol and drugs have more power over me. I have a healthy fear of alcohol and drugs and those things keep me sober.