Step 1 of the Twelve Step Programme

‘We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable’

Step One in the 12 Step Programme is about admitting that we have a problem. Only once we recognise this can we be in a position to want to find a solution to our problem. Most people, once they start to look at the 12 Step Programme, have got to a point in their lives where things are anything but calm and happy. Most of the time our lives have become miserable, chaotic and unmanageable. We have become secretive, always defensive, constantly on the back foot and afraid of what is going to be said or to happen next. Many of us feel as if we are down a black hole, with very little hope of getting out of it. We may have lost our appetite and are usually sleeping badly.

Here are some examples of being powerless over alcohol and our lives becoming unmanageable. I am sure you can think of your own examples though.

  • Alcohol is such a necessity for us to live that the thought of running out and not having enough for our needs would make us really panic and fearful.
  • When we start drinking, we cannot stop – so we might have plans to be somewhere else at a certain time but carrying on drinking becomes much more important. One drink is never enough. We therefore fail to stick to our original arrangements. Addicts/Alcoholics are unreliable. We also may fail to turn up to previously made commitments if we are too hungover / ill to be there. 
  • We can also plan our lives around drinking so that becomes the focus of all other arrangements. For example, we might make sure all meetings take place in a pub or where it is reasonable for us to access alcohol. Or we might time our meetings so that drink can legitimately be part of the arrangement.
  • Often we sneak a drink at any time we can – even when we have previously told ourselves that we will last longer before having alcohol again. We have a mental obsession with alcohol as well as a physical need.
  • We feel low about our drinking and our associated behaviour. It does not stop us repeating it though at regular intervals. We genuinely love our families – our partners, our children, our friends – and we know they are affected by our drinking. However we either kid ourselves that our drinking does not affect them that much or we think it is worth the damage we do because we so much need to drink.
  • Many a time, we are forgetful. We have conversations with people and we have no memory of them. We cannot remember detail about large chunks of time. This is called blackout. Contrary to popular belief, black out is not when we pass out – it is when we cannot remember things we have said or done.

Reach Out

These are just some examples of powerlessness and unmanageability around alcohol. If they ring a bell with you, perhaps you could do with some help. Call the Haynes Clinic, a private alcohol rehab clinic for guidance, advice and a free assessment. Tel 01462 851414.

Read our description of the full twelve step addiction treatment system

Contact us for some more information on how we incorporate the 12 Steps into our treatment programme.