“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable” is the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous. It seems pretty straight forward, but it is the toughest step an alcoholic or addict can take. It doesn’t matter whether you are an alcoholic or not, admitting being powerless over anything is a daunting task. Most people want to think they are in control of their own lives and the alcoholic will take this to the extreme. Perhaps it is because the life of an alcoholic is so chaotic; they need to be in more control than “normal people.”
I am amazed how long it took me to understand my own powerlessness, as time and time again I tried to drink like other people. I would be sober for long stretches of time and then one day I would think, maybe I can drink like “normal” people. I can go out for dinner and have a glass of wine. I would have one glass and then go home, sure that I was just like everyone else. Of course, the day would inevitably come when one glass wouldn’t be enough. One night of drinking would not be enough, and off I go hiding drinks at home thinking nobody knew. My family always knew, they just waited for me to stop again and be sober for awhile. Studies have shown that most alcoholics are smart, but no one would know that, as we “keep repeating the same behavior expecting different results (AA’s definition of insanity).
Alcoholics spend much of their time pitying themselves, “Poor me, I can’t drink like other people.” They think life will be boring without alcohol. What I have found happened in sobriety is that, I laugh often, I have no shame. I can look at myself in the mirror without cringing. People respect and trust me again, and actually value my opinion. There is something in everyday to feel joyful about, I have contentment, and life is anything but boring. As a matter of fact, life is more fun because I am focusing on doing enjoyable things as opposed to drinking being my only entertainment. To me, admitting that I am powerless over alcohol and drugs seems to be a small price to pay for the contentment I feel.