The First Step states:
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Many of us have struggled uselessly against our obsession to drink. We sought strength in all kinds of places, self-help books, doctors and shrinks. We tried to limit our drinks, we tried drinking only at certain times or drinking only beer or wine. We tried stopping for our kids, we tried stopping for a while and have even promised God we would never drink again.
We desperately clung to our own understanding of the world and tried to apply these methods to combat alcohol. But all was in vain. None of these strategies worked! We used them and they worked well in all other areas of life but when it came to alcohol all of them failed. We tried them one more time thinking the problem was not the method but that we were inherently bad or wrong that we had to look for the source of our problem deep within us and hoping against hope we could find the solution there.
To top it off, as we are struggling with this demon inside us we notice that life as a whole had started to crumble and fall to pieces around us. People who we normally could count on would turn against us, we lose our jobs and we can’t seem to understand what is happening to our finances. Our bodies were ailing us suddenly and we started wondering if God Himself had turned against us! This only strengthened our yearning to seek relief for our dilemmas by drowning our sorrows in more alcohol.
Soon everything turned into one big mess, like everything we touched would rot and fester. No matter how hard we tried we could not go on any further, in fact it was like the harder we tried the deeper we sank. We couldn’t place the horse and the cart in the right order anymore and our realities were turned upside-down / inside-out.
And then we found the first step. This step is the first stepping stone each of us had to find in order to start finding a way out of the mess we were in. We had to admit we were powerless over alcohol. We may have thought we were powerless over life itself but this was not so. By placing ourselves outside of our own world for just a brief moment, sometimes with the aid of others, we could start seeing that the source of all evil was our problem with drink. Alcohol suddenly became the source of our problems and not the solution to them any longer. Without this realization, that tiny little moment when we saw the truth for what it was, it was impossible to find sanity once more. Our lives being unmanageable was the result of our alcoholic drinking behavior.
We had to admit powerlessness. We had to realize that, over this substance, we were hope-less, devoid of any hope. Only then were we able to accept new hope and find a new beginning. Admitting to be powerless over alcohol was accepting this part of life for what it was and the first opportunity to objectively see the problem. The problem was not hidden in the netherworld within us any longer. The problem had a name, a shape, a color and a taste. The longer we let this idea sink in we started seeing the connections and identify the culprit. Our lives, though unmanageable, suddenly became fixable again. Damage is damage is done! We could start rebuilding again with the use of the new hope that we were now ready to receive.
This is the best time to seek advice from others who had once stood at the place we now are. We can listen to their experience and try to learn where they found their hope and their strength. But never forget: others can walk with you but the path is yours to find and yours to walk.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.