Are you Powerless Over Alcohol?

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. 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. Some AA meetings give all participants a chance to speak.

  • In fact, much of the Twelve Steps require an explanation.
  • Looking back on my own drinking history, at least what I remember of it, I can see this phenomenon at work.

You aren’t powerless when it comes to choosing not to drink or use drugs. But you are, however, powerless when substances are in your body. Step 1 of AA is crucial because it’s not just about you and your recovery journey.

List of Examples of Powerlessness in Sobriety

The mental obsession and physical cravings increase after the first drink, causing the person to drink more. To admit powerlessness over alcohol (or drugs) means accepting the fact that you’ve lost control over your substance use. You accept that your life now largely revolves around maintaining your addiction and your addiction is now the driving force behind all your thoughts and actions. Many 12-Step programs are well-known groups that use the concept of powerlessness to benefit recovery. The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book says “powerless over alcohol” as its first principle. AA members believe they cannot control their drinking without the help of a higher power.

how am i powerless over alcohol

Recognizing this unmanageability is crucial because it propels individuals toward seeking help and making lasting changes. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” It is my responsibility to stay involved in sobriety and follow my sponsor’s suggestions. It is my responsibility to cultivate and grow willingness. Once sober, if I decide to pick up a drink or drug, that’s on me too. I can’t cop out behind a smokescreen of powerlessness.

Why We Admit Powerlessness over Alcohol and Drugs

So here are some ways to know if you are powerless over your addiction. After all, when one family member struggles with alcohol abuse, family relations become characterized by dishonesty. Your inability to assert power over alcohol forces you to lie about your use of alcohol and even your whereabouts. This can lead to a cycle of lies, both for you and for the family members who attempt to understand or excuse your behavior. It’s because the 12 Steps are worded and crafted precisely to take you to the next step. Work through each one and you’ll be well-positioned to recover from your addiction to alcohol.

A person shouldn’t consider themselves weak-willed or incapable when they admit to their powerlessness, and they don’t have to do anything about their addiction yet. Step One is just asking a person What if being sober sucks? 4 Tips To Boost Your Sobriety to acknowledge that they have the disease of addiction, and life is harder because of it. You know that alcohol is bad news for you, you are convinced, and nothing can make you return to drinking.

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