What constitutes a solid 1st step?

How are we to understand the words: “We admitted we were powerless over (our addiction), that our lives had become unmanageable?”

Let’s try to unpack this 1st step by examining the intent behind the words.  Let’s face it, we’re not just talking about an addict who has hit bottom – at the end of his/her rope.  This first of the 12 Steps is the foundation of the remaining eleven.  Let me explain.

There are three things understood, three things that are inherent in a solid first step:

  • Acceptance
  • Hope
  • Resolve

In what way are we accepting?  By admitting to our complete powerlessness over the addiction.  By realizing that – by ourselves – we haven’t got a chance.  It would be easier to get into a boxing ring and wrestle a 500 pound gorilla than to take on your addiction single-handed.

For what do we hope?  We hope for change, for success, for transformation, and for grace.  We are, surely, at the end of our rope.  But by admitting defeat we are not resigned to it.  Instead, we recognize a turning point in our lives, and begin a whole new chapter in our own, personal story of addiction and recovery.

To what are we resolved?  To action!  Even though we have admitted to our powerlessness, we know we are not helpless.  And we have said to ourselves, “Enough is enough.  I’m done with this shit.”  We stop saying, “I know I really should…” and we start repeating, “I absolutely must…!”

Remember – your first step is foundational to your recovery.  A solid grasp (acceptance) of your own powerlessness is necessary if you hope of taking any action toward lasting change.