Step 1: “Powerlessness” for the Professional
“We admitted that we were powerlessover alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” –Step 1 of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
The concept of “powerlessness” over alcohol is simple to understand, but difficult for the alcoholic to actually admit – especiallyan alcoholic who is considered a “professional” in his/her field, like myself. We professionals possess the willpower to achieve our goals, and are generally successful in practicing self-control throughout our lives. Because our intelligence, work-ethic, and discipline facilitates us professionally, it’s hard for us to recognize that willpower and self-control just don’t workwhen it comes to addiction.
But “who cares to admit complete defeat?” 12&12 Step One, p.21. Nobody, especially not us professionals. And many professionals, like myself, gain a large part of their self-worth through their perceived power, accomplishment, control, and success. Indeed, “when first challenged to admit defeat, most of us revolted.” 12&12 Step One, p.22. However, after working the steps, I found truth in this: “only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength.”12&12 Step One, p.21.
When I attempted (unsuccessfully) to manage my drinking habits, I believed that my willpower was just momentarily broken. Life was fine, I lied to myself… except alcohol almost killed me.
But just like the 12&12 describes, admitting utter defeat led me to seek liberation and strength. Today, I am able to see just how “not fine” my life really was before sobriety. With the help of my Higher Power, my sponsor, and the steps, I can recognize when I’m being petty and competitive just to get ahead. I can see when I’m attempting to control others for my own selfish gains. I can admit when I’ve foolishly picked a fight, been overly dramatic, or have been stuck in self-pity. I can try, however unsuccessfully, to make things right, to apologize, or make amends for my behavior.
I mess up quite a bit… and of course, “life happens.” But the difference is, now, I won’t drink over it. I have the tools to admit my wrongs, embrace my powerlessness, and move forward…counting each sober day as a gift from God. My goal now is to continue in spiritual growth, helping others find the same liberation and strength that I have found. You too can find that same liberation and strength with the help of the men at Lakewood Recovery.
-By Dana M.