AA: Step One

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.

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