Working the twelve steps of AA or NA is the means by which millions of people across the world have recovered from the seemingly hopeless state of mind that is a hallmark of active addiction. Regardless of which 12 step based fellowship you participate in, you should be working the twelve steps with a sponsor as part of a healthy recovery program. In light of this fact, let’s take a look at the twelve steps over the next few weeks. As with anything else in life, it all starts with step one!
The first step reads as follows: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Anyone who has suffered the nightmare of active substance abuse will relate to this statement, so it would seem at first that step one is easy to work. However, it is crucial you accept this statement as fact to your innermost self. Many struggle with the idea of powerlessness as well as their inability to successfully manage their own lives. They believe that once they put down the drink or drug, their ability to control their substance of choice and manage their lives will be restored, but this is not the case. As you proceed on to the next steps in recovery, you will see that ultimately it is our higher power who relieves us of our addiction and manages our lives, and any attempts on our part to wrest control back will result in more pain and devastation.
Step one is a perfect example of why working with a sponsor is so important if you are to succeed in recovery. Every sponsor guides their sponsees through step one differently, but you can expect to confront the evidence of your powerlessness and unmanageability as part of your step work. The most important part of step one is your understanding that this powerlessness and unmanageability is your normal state, and remains unchanged even though you are no longer actively using. Accepting this reality is difficult for some, and you should not move on in the steps until you and your sponsor agree you have fully admitted to your innermost self you are an alcoholic who’s life is unmanageable.
The twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are the root of every 12 step based recovery program on the planet. Working the twelve steps is how you truly recover from your substance abuse disorder long term, allowing you to change your mindset and achieve lasting sobriety. Step one seems easy on the surface, but it is important you fully work this critical first step if you are to succeed in sobriety. So long as you maintain your commitment to recovery and listen to your sponsor’s advice regarding this step, you will be able to work it to the best of your ability and proceed on to step two!