Step One of Alcoholics Anonymous is “admitting we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable.” Admitting that we are powerless over anything can be hard to swallow for anyone, but for the alcoholic it is almost impossible. The alcoholic has a tremendous amount of pride (misplaced though it may be) and it can keep him from admitting he has a problem. Pride is one of the biggest downfalls of an alcoholic and it can sometimes take years of sobriety before he can see what this misplaced pride has done to his life. As you begin to work the steps in Alcoholics Anonymous with a qualified sponsor, you will begin to see how you have sabotaged yourself with pride. It is paramount that the alcoholic begin to see how his drinking is affecting not only his life but his family and friends as well. Until he can begin to see this, he is in a state of denial. Denial is self-deception which can be deadly. The alcoholic must begin to realize that once the alcohol enters his body he becomes unable to control his behavior.
Alcoholics Anonymous gives a definition for insanity as repeating the same behavior expecting different results. An alcoholic can be sober for a period of time and then somehow convince himself that he can try just one drink and off he goes again. Even though taking that one drink has brought him nothing but heartache he will take it anyway thinking that this time will be different. This is known as a relapse. After a relapse the alcoholic will feel even worse than before. Some alcoholics have to go through many relapses before they see the powerlessness of his situation.
The alcoholic is a master at blaming others for his drinking. If his wife was more affectionate, or his boss saw how much he was worth or his children were better behaved, he wouldn’t have to drink. Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritual program however, by the time an alcoholic begins to think he might have a problem he is blaming even God for the mess his life is in.
Until the alcoholic can let go of the pride and the blaming, he will never be able to see his own powerlessness. Until he can see what alcohol has done to his life it will never change. Alcohol will continue to beat him down and leave his life in ruins. The interesting thing is that once he is able to admit powerlessness only then will he have power and control over his life.