Are you Powerless Over Alcohol?

For real alcoholics, if you are enjoying your drinking, you are most likely not controlling it; and if you are controlling your drinking, you most likely are not enjoying it. Unmanageable is only printed once in the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which in the first step. It’s left many people to interpret what unmanageable means in the book.

What is an example of powerlessness in the world?

  • Accepting you don't have control over drinking, even after a long time without use.
  • Understanding that despite your efforts, your life has become unmanageable unless you seek help.
  • Recognizing and admitting the consequences of your past actions.

If you or someone you love struggles to manage their drug and alcohol addiction, it is vital to seek drug addiction treatment. Our comprehensive treatment programs and addiction specialists at Lighthouse Recovery Institute can help you find the right path to recovery. Unmanageability describes how that problem has affected your life. When we become helpless to unmanaged family, work, finances, health, or relationships, we experience a real sense of powerlessness.

The Power of Surrender

Conceptually, powerlessness is also an element of 12 Step programs. We might hear this word without giving it much thought if we aren’t steeped in drug and alcohol recovery. Yet the admission of powerlessness is Step One, the very gateway to our recovery program.

No one makes the conscious choice to lose control and wreck their lives. Many factors go into addiction development, from genetics to untreated mental health symptoms, for which some people turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of self-medicating. As the Medical Director, Mark works with the staff to coordinate the appropriate level of care for each individual client. What he has found to be most rewarding about working in the addictions treatment field is being able to help suffering addicts and alcoholics to realize their fullest potential. As a part of treatment at MARR, our clients complete a First Step Inventory, which includes examples of powerlessness and unmanageability from various areas of life.

What Is Powerlessness and How To Accept It.

They are certain that next year will be different, even though they live on an annual floodplain and their recent, horrific experience is identical to every year they’ve ever lived there. We can’t imagine why they’d still want to live there. We would urge them to come to their senses, admit that they are powerless, and move to higher ground with the rest of us. That’s exactly the course of action we who have recovered from substance abuse took once we finally admitted that we are powerless over alcohol and drugs. When you are 2 or 10 or 20 years sober, you are still going to be powerless over alcohol. Powerlessness is often mistaken for weakness, but this is actually a step of strength.

Our shame, guilt, despair and anger weren’t triggered because somebody told us we were powerless. It’s the human condition, the natural and foreseeable consequence of wrestling with forces beyond our control. Quite the contrary, being able to admit that you can’t drink makes you self-aware and honest.

“Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.” (Big Book, Page

Yet that’s precisely what the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests. That’s when an idea strikes – I’m gonna go by the bar and have a couple drinks. I’ll leave at a reasonable hour, rest up and have a better day tomorrow. It’s a great plan, but it has one fatal flaw – you’re an alcoholic.

  • You will be unable to go further in your recovery if you cannot recognize that you and alcohol do not mix.
  • It’s not easy to admit our inability resist alcohol or internal humiliation, but you’re not alone.
  • To date, medical science is making headway on the particulars of addiction.
  • A person with alcohol addiction is powerless over alcohol because his or her behavior changes in ways that would not happen when sober.
  • Addiction treatment centers often talk about “powerless” as a way to describe the feeling of being unable to control one’s life.

No human is meant to go through life alone without support, we all need others. The sooner you can realize this and accept help the stronger you will be. If lucky, our journey has taken us to arriving at a point of surrender. For some people the road they traveled getting to the first step in AA has been more than enough to convince them that unconditional surrender is the only option for recovery. Doing the 12 steps is also referred to as “working” the steps, because it requires willingness, effort and action. It is said the 12 steps of AA is compared to markers put out lovingly on a path by those who preceded us, to direct us on our journey.


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