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Do you agree with Alcoholics Anonymous that people are always powerless over alcohol or other addictive substances?

Judy is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Maryland, and a National Certified Counselor. She earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. She has served in both clinical and leadership positions in a number of roles, in inpatient and outpatient settings, as a Primary Therapist and Clinical Supervisor. Step 1 is your first lesson in challenging your ego, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and taking a hard look at the state of your life. Basically, this concept states that when you invest your personal assets into the market, there is a potential for loss, but there isalso a potential forhuge gain.

That makes “admitting powerlessness” a form of strength. 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.

What does powerless over Alcohol even mean? Sounds lame.

Many peer recovery groups use examples of powerlessness in sobriety to help participants accept themselves for who they are. Acceptance includes taking responsibility for our actions and accepting that we cannot change what has happened in the past.

  • The impact of drugs and alcohol on your body over time renders your natural brain functions and mechanisms powerless.
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it.
  • When you admit that you are powerless over alcohol, you’re accepting that alcohol should not even be in your life anymore.
  • Sure, I would rather be alone than with a bunch of people but more often than not I questioned my sanity.
  • I had no friends because I used people to get what I wanted, until I didn’t need them anymore, and my relationship with my parents was distant because I knew they wouldn’t approve of my excessive partying.

Of drinking again in the future mean that you have not fully admitted to yourself that you are powerless over alcohol. In this way, admitting powerlessness means accepting that you can never drink alcohol again in the future – even in full amounts. A person with alcohol addiction is powerless over alcohol because his or her behavior changes in ways that would not happen when sober.

The First Step toward Addiction Recovery

The FHE Health team is committed to providing accurate information that adheres to the highest standards of writing. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure FHE Health is trusted as a leader in mental health and addiction care. The family can become totally controlled by diseased thinking. Although the illusion of control may continue, their lives become unmanageable, because alcohol is really in control. Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals.

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We strive to exceed patient and community expectations in every life we touch. You’re not alone—almost everyone has a hard time with Step 1 when they first get sober. In fact, much of the Twelve Steps require an explanation. The phrasing can be confusing powerless over alcohol or dated, and when people first encounter Step 1, they’re likely to pause at the idea of being powerless while others scratch their heads at “life has become unmanageable.” Six hours later, the bar is closing as fast as your consciousness.

Step 1 in AA and Al-Anon Programs Is Honesty

Rock bottom gives you the motivation to open your mind to recovery. According to Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions , “Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built” (p. 21). Well, my next move is determined by my next drink, I don’t ‘enjoy’ life unless I’m drinking, and the only friends in my life are the people who can provide me with my next drink. Feeling powerless makes us believe that there is nothing we can do. We don’t have the power over the obsession to drink, nor do we have the power to control how much we drink once we start. What we can do is turn to a Power greater than ourselves for help. We let this Power do what we are unable to do for ourselves.

  • Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.
  • Over the years he grew into becoming an advocate for people in recovery or seeking recovery from substance use disorders.
  • The brain chemistry changes dramatically even after just one drink causing the person to crave more and more alcohol.
  • You accept that your life now largely revolves around maintaining your addiction and that your addiction is now the driving force behind all of your thoughts and actions.

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. He also conducted official financial examinations of various non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations. This experience allowed him to learn the inner workings of almost any aspect of a company. It also taught him the value of building meaningful relationships with clients and having a strong ethical framework.

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