“Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is taken from the Big Book and the Twelve & Twelve.
This is the only step we have to do perfectly. To have an attitude that we “can drink once in a while” or “take a break” is dangerous. Of course, this is something we alcoholics find out the hard way. We have all at one time or another, woken up in the morning (or maybe we hadn’t even been to sleep) and said: Man, I am never doing that again! Only to be right back where we were, less than twenty-four hours later.
And let’s face it: admitting we are powerless over anything is tough for us humans. We have this thing called “pride” that whispers in our ear that we can beat anything. It whispers that giving up is for suckers and wimps. Our egos and pride tell us that people will laugh at us if we admit we cannot drink (or drug) anymore.
We had come to realize that once we put a drink in our bodies, we could not stop. That first drink rendered us helpless every time.
We tried to drink successfully. We made empty promises (with good intentions!) that we would only drink beer, or that we would only drink on the weekend or that we would stop drinking at 11 pm. It may have worked for a little while, but ultimately it didn’t work at all.
We could not drink successfully. We could not stop after one drink. The minute we put that first drink in us, our bodies and minds crave more and we drink until we are either passed out, puking, in jail or in a crazy situation. And yes, these crazy situations may make great stories (if we live through them) but they leave us with shame and regret.
The unmanageability of our lives may be that we keep showing up late for work (or not showing up at all), we aren’t paying our bills, we are cheating on our spouses or partners, we are getting in fights, driving intoxicated and ending up in jail. It is one or some or all of these things. We could not manage our own lives, we could not manage our drinking, we could not manage anything.
Step One is the only step we have to do perfect. If we do that one step perfectly, we will begin the road to recovery and our lives will begin to change in a positive way.