Step 1 of AA: Admitting You’re Powerless Over Alcohol

If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction or drug addiction, please contact us now at FHE Health for compassionate help and support. Many 12-Step programs are well-known groups that use the concept of powerlessness to benefit recovery. The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book says “powerless over alcohol” as its first principle. AA members believe they cannot control their drinking without the help of a higher power. This belief is what gives them hope and helps them stay sober. This is a common question asked by people who are new in their recovery journey.

You name it, it will not stop this feeling of restlessness and discomfort from surfacing. Unmanageable is only printed once in the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which in the first step. It’s left many people to interpret what unmanageable means in the book.

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” – Step One of the 12 Steps

Despite your best intentions, you’ve lost the ability to limit your intake of alcohol or drugs or stop the behavior. Most examples of powerlessness in sobriety have to do with admitting that you cannot change your behaviors on your own. Getting help from others at a treatment facility and in peer recovery groups can benefit your sobriety. Addiction treatment centers often talk about “powerless” as a way to describe the feeling of being unable to control one’s life. This is different from the inability to manage one’s life, which is what most people think of when they hear the word unmanageable. In fact, many people who struggle with addiction feel like they have little power over their disease but still want to change.

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a holistic based, 12-step inspired, clinically proven program for alcoholism and co-occurring disorders. Call (844) 234-LIVE today for information on our partial care programs. As a brand, we prefer to use person-first language to avoid defining people by their condition and the stigma that may come with it. That said, we understand the language of Alcoholics Anonymous often does not avoid using the term “alcoholic.” Feeling powerless makes us believe that there is nothing we can do.

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Step One AA emphasizes the futility of attempting to manage something that’s proven uncontrollable. We sometimes feel as if we are the victim and point fingers at other people or situations. This kind of thinking prevents us from looking at our powerlessness. Accepting our powerlessness opens us up to the willingness for a Higher Power’s help. We let this Power remove the problem by practicing the rest of the steps as a way of life. Until we can accept powerlessness, we will not fully seek Power.

examples of being powerless over alcohol

In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, there are several different viewpoints that you can hear about unmanageability. Step 1 is the first important step in recovery for many people because when you acknowledge that your alcohol use is no longer completely in your control, you can seek help. By taking this step, you acknowledge that your alcohol use has come to a point where you cannot control it. By Buddy T

Buddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

Alcoholism contributes to many physical and mental health issues, and even death.

Knowing your limitations helps you to succeed and accomplish your goals. Rather, look at step one as knowing what you can and cannot handle. Opting for sobriety extends benefits to the cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) system. Ceasing alcohol consumption is crucial in preventing the elevated risk of high What if being sober sucks? 4 Tips To Boost Your Sobriety blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and stroke that excessive drinking and even a single bout of drinking can pose. Getting to the end of a month without alcohol is a huge accomplishment. By this time, physical withdrawal symptoms should’ve cleared and you may be experiencing less anxiety and depression.

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