Step One: Are You Really Powerless?

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AA Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

When I was ‘working the steps,’ I spent a lot of  time and energy questioning whether or not I was really powerless over alcohol. After all, there was that time at my sister’s wedding when I turned down a fourth drink. And that other time when I  was so hung over that I voluntarily turned down a glass of tepid wine (because I didn’t think I could hold it down).

All kidding aside, I could sometimes sustain periods of controlled drinking. And I started out as a normal drinker. But in hindsight, none of this mattered. All it did was send me into endless rounds of deciding if I was really an alcoholic, and if there was any doubt, I could continue to drink. I used this doubt to undermine every attempt I made to quit.

But there was no denying that my life had become unmanageable.

Look what Joss over at She-Who-Hears says in her blog:

“Unmanageability manifests itself in different ways and different degrees, but this part of the step furthers the admission of internal chaos with a direct admission of its manifestation into all elements our lives. We are not in control of ourselves, and our lives are now controlled by raw, insatiable need.”

Unmanageability was manifesting in every area of my life. I should have concentrated on this part of the statement instead of allowing my ego to convince me that I didn’t really qualify as a true alcoholic, and therefore none of what followed applied to me. I could have saved myself many more years of drinking.

Joss’s post is well worth the read: Step One.

12 thoughts on “Step One: Are You Really Powerless?

  1. Interesting perspective, I like the angles you you have shared. Like yourself, I pondered this step. I think that at certain times in life, there were very discrete pockets of time where it’s fair to say alcohol had a sort of control over me. I don’t go so far as to say I was powerless. Now however, it’s a delight to be living an alcoholfree life! Isn’t it wonderful? So, I have the power over alcohol and I control it. It has no place in my life and it does not own my mind or my body. So to answer your question, are we really powerless, my view is no we are not. We have the power over alcohol; it is powerless over us. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brilliant! I couldn’t agree more. As long as I don’t drink, I have power over alcohol. And it is wonderful not to have all of the fog/anxiety/anger/fear that comes from an alcohol-soaked brain. It really is about taking your power back. I willingly gave the alcohol power, at one point, and then I FINALLY have it back. Thank you for putting a positive spin on this. xoxo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are two sober sisters from the opposite of the world – I’m so excited to meet someone who shares the same views!
        Oh yes, those horrible associations with alcohol gahhhhh – a distant memory nowadays. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yay! Another sober sister. I love that, especially because you are in such a cool part of the world. I’m assuming that, as sisters, I should come and visit you soon. Don’t worry — I will be staying in a nearby hotel so you don’t have to get the house ready or anything. See you soon!! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have power over alcohol right up to the first drink, then all power is gone and the allergy kicks in, insanity returns… The gift of the First step is as long as I don’t drink, it’s all going to be okay.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Exactly! In the past, I wanted to test the powerless theory by drinking. I think I was missing the point. I regained my power by not taking that first drink. (But first, I chose to run the powerless experiment a few hundred times.) Thanks, Bryan! ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Really love this post. It’s the word ‘powerless’ that kept me from getting sober sooner. My ego was convinced that I was somehow different and better than that. Ahh if I could turn back time. I could have saved myself so much heartache and pain. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, yes…I remember the days of convincing myself that I wasn’t REALLY powerless over alcohol by reminding myself of a time here or there when I did happen to turn down a drink or just stick to 2 or 3. The fact that I was even questioning it and trying to convince myself should have been a red flag that my life had become unmanageable. Thank you for sharing this – I know so many can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

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