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

James Scribner holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. His career began working in the accounting industry as a financial auditor. In that role, James audited a national trade association with over 1,300 member companies that sell health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans.

examples of being powerless over alcohol

Like AA members, NA members believe they cannot control drugs without the help of a higher power. Families can bring the feeling of rock bottom to their loved one. Waiting for them to feel physical consequences may not be enough as they may justify and rationalize them. Family First Intervention specializes in healing the family system that has been affected while waiting for the illusion of physical rock bottom. When family and friends have had enough, you are allowed to intervene before they feel the rock bottom.

What Does It Mean to Be Powerless?

When I simply would rather “sleep” under a blanket, behind closed blinds, all day rather than behave like a functioning adult. Here’s an exercise that can show you the value of being powerless. For example, other people’s actions, the reality of addiction, the past, other people’s emotions, and the list goes on. Unmanageability means you don’t have the self-will or the tools to take control of the triggers around you. At this point, it is time for intervention and professional help if you want to regain control of your life. The average person believes the rock bottom is a loss of things, such as jobs, family, finances, home, etc.

how long does alcohol stay in your system

A crucial part of completing AA Step one revolves around admitting powerlessness. Step 1 of AA requires a great deal of strength and courage as you accept that alcohol has taken over your life. Mental obsession also makes those suffering from addiction feel powerless. You are powerless over that drug because you have a completely irresistible urge to get high. And when you aren’t getting high, all you can think about is when you can get high again. This is the powerlessness of the mind for which the drugs have a complete hold of.

Myth 2: Powerlessness Equates To Weakness

Her innovative approach as Director of Operations gives her clients a safe and compassionate place at The Freedom Center to begin their recovery journey. No, this is not the meaning of powerless in the first step of AA. It does not mean that you won’t be able to quit alcohol, instead, it means alcohol will always control you IF you don’t give it up completely. Alcohol has a way of taking control over one’s life. The brain chemistry changes dramatically even after just one drink causing the person to crave more and more alcohol. This mental obsession coupled with physical cravings could lead to detrimental behaviors such as violence, sexual promiscuity, or heavy drinking in an attempt to quench the thirst for alcohol.

She graduated from The University of Maryland with a master’s degree in social work. As a licensed clinician, Cheryl stands ready to diagnose and treat a wide spectrum of mental, behavioral, and personality disorders that sometimes present alongside a substance use disorder. Accepting my powerlessness did not mean I was accepting a life of defeat but rather claiming my victory over the things I cannot control.

A Deeper Look at Alcoholics Anonymous Step One

Your changes at the intervention and after can help them with their perception and accountability. Allowing them to run the show prevents them from feeling the need to do anything differently. The addicted person may suffer losses, and depending on how they feel as the result, they may or may not stop because of it. Although the consequences of substance use have to outweigh the benefits in order to feel rock bottom, it still comes back to perception and rationalizing insanity.

What is the concept of powerlessness?

The sense of powerlessness is the expectancy or perception that one's own behavior cannot control the occurrence of personal and social outcomes: control is vested in external forces, powerful others, luck, or fate—as in the Marxian depiction of the domination and exploitation of the worker in capitalist society.

From this point, you are able to accept the situation as it is. Admitting powerlessness actually gives you strength. You know that alcohol is bad news for you, you are convinced, and nothing can make you return to drinking. In order to progress to steps two through twelve, you must embrace step one. You will be unable to go further in your recovery if you cannot recognize that you and alcohol do not mix.

Alcohol truly served as my personal wolf in sheep’s clothing. This magic elixir, a cure all for my plentiful emotional ailments. My perceived social faux pas and devoted mask to face my biggest foe; self-imposed social scrutiny. For three weeks prior to this event, I wrote and rewrote countless versions of what I would say. I have told my story before, always to a group of other recovering alcoholics; never to a room full of “normies.” I vacillated with being 100% transparent about my addiction, or toning it down. I’ll just have one or maybe two; I can drink just one more day then stop, I’ll just smoke marijuana that’s not that bad, or I’ll only drink on the weekends, etc.

  • Everyone’s rock bottom is different, and depending on the person, their perception of it is too.
  • We’re powerless when our mind is obsessing, so it’s nearly impossible to make the right decision.
  • Addiction is a disease, and with the right treatment, diseases can be effectively managed.
  • For many people, the act of sharing Step One in an AA meeting is the true start of recovery.

After all, awareness is the first step to implementing any sort of change. It gave me an opportunity to acknowledge the insanity of my obsessive-compulsive nature when it came to my addiction. Furthermore, it gave me the opportunity to wake up to the reality of the disease of addiction. When the substance user surrenders and feels the rock bottom, things begin to shift. When they realize there is more to gain from not using drugs or alcohol than they believed was to gain from using drugs or alcohol is when the substance user moves through the stages of change.

If you want to reap the positive benefits of AA, you must accept your alcoholic abuse disorder and its consequences. Your sobriety will remain unpredictable, and you won’t find any enduring strength until you can admit defeat. Step 1 of AA can be one of the most difficult on your journey to sobriety. You must first admit powerless over alcohol and be honest with yourself about the situation. Alcohol addiction may interfere with everyday living.

  • I cannot do anything for myself or my family without the drug controlling my every choice.
  • Even if someone realizes or admits they have a problem they might still be unwilling to make the necessary changes.
  • Let’s face it when we control it, we’re not enjoying it, and when we’re enjoying it, we’re not controlling it.
  • AA support groups are accessible and free, without any age or education requirements.
  • We have good reasons for saying this, as we explain below.
  • When referring to powerlessness in AA, it is referring to the inability to control how much alcohol you drink.

I would often pray for God to just take me, as I would have welcomed death over the lifeless existence I was suffering through. With each morning sunbeam, I realized the disappointment of having to endure another day with the bottle. Feeling powerless makes us believe that there is nothing we can do.

List of Examples of Powerlessness in Sobriety

Until ownership and accountability are felt, losses have little to no effect. If you don’t feel it, then you aren’t hitting the rock bottom. When people think of a substance user hitting rock bottom, often visions of homelessness and jail come to mind. Although this can occur at one’s rock bottom, that is not necessarily the case for all. Rock bottom happens in all shapes and sizes, and nobody knows for sure when one will realize they have had enough and need help. Rock bottom isn’t really something you hit, it is something you feel.

  • We have had at least one good reason, probably more.
  • Our shame, guilt, despair and anger weren’t triggered because somebody told us we were powerless.
  • The impact of drugs and alcohol on your body over time renders your natural brain functions and mechanisms powerless.
  • When you admit that you are powerless over alcohol, you’re accepting that alcohol should not even be in your life anymore.
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