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Powerless Over Alcohol: Giving Up My Best Friend

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable. When I read this for the first time more than two years ago, I had absolutely no idea how important this first step would be for long term recovery. They say this is the only step I have to do absolutely perfectly.  When I heard that, my disease kicked in and said, “There is no way you are going to be able to admit any of this, let alone the fact that you couldn’t control your own life or your drinking.”

My best friend, King Alcohol

I found out later that was just fear of giving up my best friend, King Alcohol. I could not imagine a life without the use of a mind altering substance! “Go to the beach, football games, and concerts and not drink? Are you a square? That isn’t going to be any fun!”

Again, later on I found out that I enjoy doing all those activities just as much if not more when I’m sober.

I know you don’t believe what I am saying, but trust me when I say if my life then was better than my life now, I would still be drinking!  But we are getting off track, step one actually has two different parts that I needed to realize. First, that I am powerless over alcohol. Second, my life is unmanageable. I was sitting on the steps of the halfway house I attended for more than five months with my sponsor when I decided to jump into the steps.

The Powerless Aspect

Hesitantly, I started on what would later become the most important decision of my life.  He first had me think about all the things I lost due to my alcohol or drug use. So I did, and while I was mentally compiling that list I thought, “Damn, could all of this hurt and pain have been avoided if I had not been drinking or high?” I came to a hard truth that it could have been. However, even though I had all these terrible things going on, I continued to drink thinking it’s not that bad or it would get better.  This is the powerless aspect of the disease – I was powerless over whether I drank or used.

Be Honest, Open-minded, and Willing

Alcohol was not my saving grace that brought me peace and serenity – it was the enemy! Then he said, “I want you to write that list out so you have tangible evidence of what you are losing or have lost due to your alcohol and drug use.” When I put pen to paper, as they say, the evidence was clear.  Everything that brought grief or loss to my life was directly related to my alcohol and drug use. This is when I realized that as long as my use continued, my life was unmanageable! Again, it is a hard truth to swallow, but for one to continue on a clear decision must be made or no further progress will happen. It required a no reservations, no holds bar surrender to my disease. When I completely gave up and stopped fighting the disease to admit step one, I could precede to the next step. The principle behind the step is honesty. This is a pivotal part of the program as it is a requirement to be honest, open minded, and willing! I wish all of you the best as you embark on the spiritual trip of a life time.

  • Ryan Teague, CRC is an Alumni Coordinator for Lakeview Health. His own personal journey through addiction allows for a unique and personal approach to helping people recover. For Ryan, being able to give back to the recovery community is very gratifying. He considers helping the newcomer find the path to long-term recovery a privilege and necessary for his own recovery. Born in St. Louis, he moved to the Jacksonville Beach area in 1986 and has been there ever since. When he is not at work or in an AA meeting he enjoys golfing and taking his boat out.

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