What Does it Mean to Say Youre Powerless Over Drugs and Alcohol?

Only then do they feel that powerlessness that comes from addiction. Her primary focus is to provide all clients with a safe, structured environment while coordinating their care. Alexandra understands addiction from both familial and personal standpoints, as she is active in her own recovery. Alexandra is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and has learned the value of recovery and succeeding in whatever she sets her mind to.

  • We’ve had good reasons to quit for good, and we continued drinking or using drugs anyway.
  • Acceptance includes taking responsibility for our actions and accepting that we cannot change what has happened in the past.
  • As addiction begins to overtake your life, you lie to yourself about what is happening.
  • However, if you closely examine Step 2, the source of that greater power is open to interpretation.

Acceptance includes taking responsibility for our actions and accepting that we cannot change what has happened in the past. It’s not easy to admit this, but if we don’t accept that we are powerless, then we won’t be able to move forward. Recovery is a journey that can seem intimidating if you’re just beginning, but in AA, you just have to take it one step at a time. Asking for help seems like such a simple concept, but admitting powerlessness is a humbling, courageous act.

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” – Step One of the 12 Steps

Rather than pushing you to believe in spiritual power, Step 1 of AA gets you to the point where you trust in the possibility of recovery. Then, you’re ready to believe you can manage your AUD with help from outside sources. After many years of denial, recovery can begin for individuals struggling with alcohol and their families with one simple admission of being powerless over alcohol. This is the first step of the 12 step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon programs, which have been attended by millions of people over the last several decades. When we admit that we are powerless over alcohol or drugs, we admit that we are living with a disease that alters the chemical makeup of the brain. Someone suffering from this disease did not make a choice to go too far and lose control, and they are not inherently lacking in values or good character.

Before speaking, the participant is required to state his or her first name and say that he or she is an alcoholic. When you follow this format, you are participating in Step 1 and admit to the group that you may be struggling with alcohol addiction. Control is a mechanism that substance use disorder sufferers love to utilize. We think that everything will be okay or will go our way if people would just listen to us. Addiction is not a character flaw, but a disease that alters brain chemicals.

Graduate School of Addiction Studies

This clearly suggests that as someone who is addicted, you have
no control over your use of drugs or alcohol. After admitting that you are powerless
over your addiction, the next steps are geared to relying on others. 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. Over time, you and your family lose control of your thinking.

  • After all, while people with AUD are powerless over alcohol, their loved ones feel powerless as well.
  • We sometimes feel as if we are the victim and point fingers at other people or situations.
  • If your addiction altered your life, then it has the power–you are powerless over your addiction.
  • Our hope is merely to capture the spirit of the fellowships, and to approach people with the language they commonly use to describe the disease of addiction.
  • I think we should take this at face value—they have a problem with step 2.

If you’re struggling with alcohol use—whether or not you’re in AA—it is up to you to choose how you describe your situation. Ultimately, the important thing is that you are working toward self-improvement and recovery. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The morning after a night of excessive drinking can bring more than just a pounding headache and queasy stomach; it…

The Next Steps

As we go through the process of Step One, we are moving from a lack of awareness into an awareness of the reality of this disease and the possibility of change. We are beginning to believe that we are capable of living in a different way. Step One AA is fundamentally about honesty, while active addiction is characterized by lies you tell yourself and everyone around you. Until you reach the point where you choose to get real, stop lying and accept that you need help, any efforts you make to deal with your addiction simply won’t be genuine or effective. Our Christian counselors walk with clients in their journey of recovery and reconnection to God.

Because it all begins with Step 1 of AA, it’s very important to understand why you can’t skip this step, even though it doesn’t require specific physical actions. Denial is a classic symptom of addiction, especially in the form of justification. In other words, “You’d drink too if you had my life” is a warning sign of powerlessness over addiction. So is, powerless over alcohol “How is taking a drink to calm down different from taking medication to calm down?” If you have to justify your use of the substance, you may have a problem. Cravings can become very strong for a person who has an addiction to alcohol. When alcohol is consumed, the brain’s neurotransmitters, which send messages to other parts of the body, are disrupted.

Are You Powerless Over Your Addiction? Here’s How to Know

In other words, Step 2 of AA offers the direct and immediate remedy for the problem you admitted in Step 1 of AA. Any substance or activity can be considered an addiction–from drinking to video games, addictions alter your life. If your addiction altered your life, then it has the power–you are powerless over your addiction.


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