Step one of the twelve steps created by Alcoholics Anonymous founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith reads “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol– that our lives had become unmanageable.” An admittance is a big thing for someone to make, especially if they have been living with the disease of alcoholism and possibly living in denial about their alcoholism. By definition, to admit something is to confess something to be true. A confession sounds like it would be liberating, which it often is, however the definition emphasizes that this confession is made with reluctance. Admitting that one is an alcoholic is hard to do because alcoholism is riddled with shame and stigma. One doesn’t want to confess they have lost power over their alcohol or that their life is unmanageable. That isn’t a pretty or convenient truth. In that admittance of powerlessness, one finds an unimaginable source of empowerment.
The first step matters in recovery because it is the one step completely necessary to start the journey of recovery. Until someone can admit that they have become powerless over their alcoholism, or whatever other problem they are facing in their life, they cannot be empowered by recovery. Coming to recovery doesn’t mean suddenly gaining power over alcohol and being able to drink normally. Recovery does mean regaining power over one’s life, learning how to make it manageable, and never having to return to the drink again. Unless someone has put down the drink long enough to come to step one they cannot realize that they must confess about how they cannot control their drinking or their lives.
Most often people avoid step one because they want to avoid confronting themselves or their problems. Step one means change. Step one means, most often, giving up the problem which has spun out of control. Many people hit “rock bottom” in their lives and are more than willing to admit that their lives have become unmanageable. Many other people do not hit rock bottom because their lives appear to be manageable. What seems like it could be rock bottom always goes deeper, as does the denial which is often in accompaniment.
Step one can seem like a punishment, which is why people are so reluctant to come to it. Once someone admits the truth, they are set free. They are now free to embark on the journey of recovery. Empowered by the liberation from a web of lies and deception, they can now live honestly with themselves and with others. Recovery is possible and waiting, right on the other side of step one.
O’Connor Professional Group offers concierge style behavioral health services, from consultations and assessments to treatment placement, from case management to therapeutic recovery companions. Our team works closely with you to determine your unique needs and create a plan for treatment and recovery that fits your lifestyle. Call us today for information: 617.910.3940