The Science of Step 1: How Being Powerless Empowers Your Recovery

This trust and surrender create space for growth and transformation, enabling us to experience a deeper sense of peace and serenity. You admit you have a problem and begin to seek out assistance. It isn’t easy, but admitting powerlessness allows you to break the cycle of addiction that you’ve been stuck in.

Acceptance includes taking responsibility for our actions and accepting that we cannot change what has happened in the past. Recovery is a journey that can seem intimidating if you’re just beginning, but in AA, you just have to take it one step at a time. Asking for help seems like such a simple concept, but admitting powerlessness is a humbling, courageous The Missing Piece: The Spiritual Malady act. In recovery, we learn that it takes far more strength to surrender and admit powerlessness than it does to try to control addiction by ourselves. By understanding the benefits of embracing powerlessness and incorporating tools and practices into their recovery journey, individuals can navigate the challenges of sobriety with greater ease and clarity.

The Language of Powerlessness

Medication-assisted treatment can help balance neurochemistry, especially in early recovery. Recognizing your powerlessness over alcohol isn’t a sign of weakness but rather an acknowledgment of the addiction’s strength. Many who struggle with alcoholism have tried to control or moderate their drinking, only to find themselves repeatedly falling into the same destructive patterns. Step One AA emphasizes the futility of attempting to manage something that’s proven uncontrollable. Worldwide, alcoholics, addicts and treatment professionals embraced the Twelve Steps, and more than 35 million copies of AA’s Big Book have been distributed in over 70 languages.

examples of powerlessness in recovery

It also made me realize that I’m not a bad person or a weak person. I saw that I was worse than I knew, but understanding the problem helped me accept the solution. Today with the understanding of powerless, our number one priority is our relationship with our creator and how we can best serve.

Which Treatments Complement Working the 12 Steps?

It allows individuals to let go of old patterns, accept their limitations, and begin the process of healing. Through this acceptance, individuals can find the support and resources they need to build a foundation for lasting sobriety. Accepting powerlessness requires a shift in mindset, moving away from a place of resistance and denial towards one of vulnerability and accountability. It involves acknowledging that addiction is a complex and powerful force that cannot be easily overcome through sheer willpower alone. By recognizing the lack of control over addiction, individuals can begin to explore alternative paths towards recovery. I remember the first time I attended a 12-step recovery meeting.

Only when you surrender control will you be on your way to mastering step one of the 12 steps. Addiction treatment centers often talk about “powerless” as a way to describe the feeling of being unable to control one’s life. This is different from the inability to manage one’s life, which is what most people think of when they hear the word unmanageable. In fact, many people who struggle with addiction feel like they have little power over their disease but still want to change. One of the fundamental aspects of embracing powerlessness is surrendering control. In addiction, individuals often try to exert control over their substance use, believing they can manage or moderate it.

Why Is Admitting Powerlessness the 1st Step in AA?

Silver Pines and Steps to Recovery have provided addiction recovery programs in Pennsylvania for over a decade with detox, residential, outpatient, and sober living services. Last year, we expanded our services to include robust mental health treatment, a new outpatient location, and specialized programming for our nation’s veterans, with more to come this year! We are visually recognizing our growth with a unified look that better reflects who we are today and the passion we have for helping everyone with their addiction and mental health recovery journeys. The 12-step program is based on the belief that one day at a time we can take control of our lives by making positive changes. Many peer recovery groups use examples of powerlessness in sobriety to help participants accept themselves for who they are.

  • This step is not saying you are powerless over your actions, decisions, or relationships with others; only over your addiction to alcohol or drugs.
  • After all, helplessness isn’t a concept that solely applies to addiction, although it might be the first step to recovery and sobriety.
  • Although you may be powerless in the fact that you struggle with addiction and have no control over it, you are not powerless over the actions you can take because of that knowledge.

Physical punishment, deprivation, social withdrawal, or any other way of punishing yourself increases feelings of despair and hopelessness. And since addictive behaviors are the primary way you cope with distress and pain, you’ll return to those in a heartbeat. This belief assumes that you have enough power over your addictive behaviors to stop. It denies the reality of all the other unsuccessful attempts you’ve made to stop as a result of major consequences. Ambrosia was founded in 2007 with a mission to provide truly individualized substance abuse treatment to every person who enters one of our programs.

Step 1 of AA: “Powerlessness”, the First of the 12-step Journey

By relinquishing control over your addiction, you are now free to get help and support from others. In this context, it means that someone feels like they don’t have any control over their life. They may feel like they have little choice but to continue using drugs or alcohol because they lack alternatives.

examples of powerlessness in recovery

It’s not easy to admit this, but if we don’t accept that we are powerless, then we won’t be able to move forward. It is the resistance to what is that causes the most suffering. Powerlessness does not necessarily mean being weak; it simply gives an addict the opportunity to adopt a more humble attitude. Humility can be a great quality to have especially in recovery because it allows someone to be more open-minded and willing to listen or learn new things. Being humble can also prevent the kind of overconfidence in recovery that can ultimately lead to relapse. The good news is that my admission of powerlessness was the springboard to my recovery.

Leave a Comment