Alcoholics Anonymous – Step One

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Many people say step one is the hardest of them all. Some people stumble over the word ‘powerless’ as if it is some personal attack degrading their strength and making them feel weak. Really, it is neither of those things.

I am powerless over alcohol because I drank, even when I didn’t want to. I drank more than I ever needed, I embarrassed myself as human being (also not my choice), and there were many times that I drank and ended up in places and situations I had not planned on.

There were so many times I drank and I felt like I hated alcohol. I hated it because it controlled me. I hated it because I had to have it to survive and I knew it was poison. I hated it because it made me feel disgusting the next day, it made me go to jail, it made me ignore my family, it made me crash my car, have a criminal record, and more visits to the hospital than I care to talk about.

How many times did I wake up and have to immediately think who I needed to apologize to for my behavior the night before? How many times did I wake up and have to see if my car was in my garage?

All of this hot mess is the essence of powerlessness and unmanageability.

My life was unmanageable because I was always scrambling to do everything at the last minute. Late to work, late to pay rent, and late to pay my bills. One time, in my THIRTIES (so embarrassing), my electricity got shut off on a Friday because I didn’t pay the bill. I had the money!! I just didn’t pay it because I was insane, out of control, and entirely unmanageable. And, by the way, when your electricity gets turned off on a Friday, they don’t come out on weekends to reconnect you when you rush in and pay the bill. So yes, I had to go all weekend with no electricity just because I was a mess and too irresponsible to take 45 seconds to pay my bill.

I’m pretty sure my cable got shut off about every other month just because I didn’t pay it. Drunk. Lazy. Irresponsible.  Unmanageable.

Powerless doesn’t mean I am weak and small and a POS. Powerless simply means that when I drink, I am not the one running the show. I do things I don’t want to. I lie to people and hurt people, I am more selfish than normal, and I am overall not the person I want to be. I am not in control of that situation. It’s that simple.

Step one is so important. In meetings you hear people say that step one is the only step I have to do ‘right’. Because if I have the tiniest idea that I have control over my drinking then I am more likely to try it again. And, for me, it is imperative that I never entertain the thought of a drink because it almost killed me without me even realizing it.

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