Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
Alcoholics Anonymous – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
“Few indeed were those who, so assailed, had ever won through in singlehanded combat.” ~ p22
Joe McQ – The Steps We Took
“When I’m trying to put something together, I may be trying to drive a tapered be into a hole wrong end first. I keep hammering and hammering, but the thing won’t go. I drive and force and maybe I’ll finally look at the peg and say, ‘This peg won’t go that way.’ Then I’ll turn it around. But I can’t turn it around until I admit that I’ve been trying to do it the wrong way.” ~ p20
“We humans are not meant to depend on our individual selves; we are meant to rely on each other.” ~ p20
“[…] we will never be everything or know everything. When we realize our powerlessness, we can seek a source of Power.” ~ p22
“We’ve got to learn the value of saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘what I’ve been trying doesn’t work.'” ~ p23
Joe McQ – Carry This Message
“Bill Wilson reminds us in the Big Book that suffering alcoholics are very sick people. We are dealing with very sick, undisciplined people.” ~ p27
“Step 1 is the foundation of the principles. The second Step is believing, the third Step is deciding, and Steps 4 through 11 are action.” ~ p32
“In Step 1 we don’t really know what we are going to do next. We just have to say, ‘What I’m doing is not working. I give up.'” ~ p33
Marya Hornbacher – Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps
“To the practicing addict with mental illness, a life up there in the light seems almost as frightening as a life down her in her own private hell.” ~ p2
“When I first came into the program, I found the idea of admitting defeat insane. I already felt defeated, by my illness, by my addiction, by my entire life.” ~ p2
“[…] we aren’t admitting powerlessness as an end in itself.” ~ p4
“Sobriety is not something that can be found alone; we need the help and company of our fellows.” ~ p7
“Neither mental illness nor addiction can be willed away; they both require serious action proportionate to the seriousness of the disease.” ~ p8
“Step One does not tell us we are failures; it shows us that the way we have been doing things has failed.” ~ p9
Marya Hornbacher – Waiting
“That uncertainty may be the most painful part of not knowing a God; no one is there to reassure us that a God will take the pain and confusion away.” ~ p6-7
“The notion that we are powerless is powerful, and for many of us painful. We have suffered under the delusion that we were in control of our addiction for a long time, and the realization that are under its control is very hard to accept.” ~ p7
What I’ve Learned
I’ve tried all sorts of things to control my Addictions — only one drink per hour, not drinking alone, no cutting when I drink, speed no more than 15 mph over the limit, call Brian before I cut, must eat at least 400 calories a day, only speed during the day, only speed during the night, can’t eat more than 2000 calories a day, drink only beer, etc.
I have addiction. it is a disease, a mental illness just like depression or OCD. and just like those, I can’t control it based solely on willpower.
I will start with my alcoholism, as that is the most severe; it is my MER — most effective reward, or drug of choice. but as I work through this program, I will keep in mind everything.
I really do think I want to get better. at least, for now. maybe down the road, I can learn to manage it again. but for right now, I can’t. right now, I have become powerless against alcohol and addiction, and my life has become unmanageable.