Step One

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Step One

Postby Dan2000 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:30 pm

Hi All

STEP 1

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable


In the first Step in AA, the very first word is WE, it doesn't say I, or me or mine, it says WE, because this is a We program, you are not alone, as a matter of fact, if you read through all of the 12 Steps, there is no I's, me's or mines, there is only We, Us or Ours.
I believe that there is a fundamental reason, that the 12 steps were written without any I's or Me's or Mines is because, the basis of the 12 steps is to help us rid ourselves of our self centeredness.

There are 2 parts to Step 1.

The first part says "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol" The second word in Step 1 is "Admitted" When we admit to something, we become Honest with ourselves. Honesty is the guiding principle, behind Step 1.

When we become Honest with ourselves, a lot of things happen, that we may not be aware of . When we are honest with ourselves, we are being Humble and when we are Humble, we are doing Gods will and when we do Gods will, we get Spirituality and when we get Spirituality, that is another word for Serenity or Contentment.

Then it says, "We were powerless of alcohol"

For me, the disease of alcoholism went like this, everyday I drank and I drank to get drunk.
Every morning I'd wake up to go to work and say to myself, I need to take a break from drinking today, my body needs a rest, I usually had the shakes until lunch time. After lunch, when I had something in my stomach, my mind would start thinking of drinking. Then 2 o'clock would come around and my mind would start telling itself, that I could go down the bar and just have 2 beers, then go home. When I got out of work, around 3:30, I would go straight to the bar, as soon as I picked up that first drink, the physical compulsion kicked in and I stayed at the bar til I was drunk.
I was "powerless over alcohol" it called the shots, what I did from day to day, my whole life revolved around alcohol, not the other way around.
Seemed like ever day, was a repeat. I have a disease that centers in my mind and a mind that I cant trust.

The second part of Step 1 says: "Our lives had become unmanageable"

My own perception on this, is that my life was unmanageable before I ever picked up a drink and I picked up that first drink to bury some of the problems I had in my life.
What I always thought when I was in the grasp of alcoholism, was that most of my problems were because of some person, place or thing, didn't act or react the way I wanted them or it, to. It was always someone else's fault, never my own.
It says in the B.B. "Our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making"
It wasn't until I went through the 12 Steps and read the B.B., a few times, that I then became aware, that most, if not all of my problems are of my own making, that I thought was the other persons.

In the first part of step 1, We Admitted we were powerless over alcohol.....In the second part of step 1, We also stated that our lives had become unmanageable. So the first part is ALCOHOL and the second part is the ISM or as a whole ALCOHOLISM.

An acronym for ISM, could be "Insecure, Selfish, Me" or " I, See, Myself" or "I, Sponsor, Myself" and if you sponsor yourself, you have an idiot for a sponsor, because "You can't solve problems by using the same thinking that was used when you created them" (Quoted from Albert Einstein)

The ISM is our self centeredness and is the main cause of our underlining problems, the problems that caused us to drink in the first place and the problem that may keep us from contented sobriety today.

Honesty is the principle behind Step 1. It is the FOUNDATION in which the other 11 Steps will be built upon. It's just like building a house, if you don't have a good foundation to build your house on, it will fall down.

When we are honest with ourselves in Step 1, we SURRENDER to our Alcoholism and by surrendering, that does not mean defeat or weakness, It is one of the great paradoxes in AA, where in surrendering, WE GAIN STRENGTH.
However our surrendering alone, will not conquer our alcoholism, we must do the WORK and keep working at dismantling our SELFISH ways.

One of the suggested way of doing this is by working the 12 Steps. Behind each Step, there is a guiding principle and if we practice these principles in all our affairs (not just in AA) it will be reasonable enough to say that WE will have a very good chance of staying sober and live a happy and contented life.


Dan2000
Last edited by Dan2000 on Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Step One

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:47 pm

The concept we share in the workshop at the local group is as follows:

Internal un-manageability of life, being restless, irritable, discontedness.....(you could add other manifestations of un-manageability) leads to the blind spot (Mental Powerlessness part) which leads to we picking up that 1st drink which then triggers the allergy (physical powerlessness) and then to external un-manageability (DUI, Incarceration......).
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step One

Postby Lali » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:35 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:The concept we share in the workshop at the local group is as follows:

Internal un-manageability of life, being restless, irritable, discontedness.....(you could add other manifestations of un-manageability) leads to the blind spot (Mental Powerlessness part) which leads to we picking up that 1st drink which then triggers the allergy (physical powerlessness) and then to external un-manageability (DUI, Incarceration......).


And for many, the unmanageability doesn't have to be DUI and incarceration. It could be as simple as ruining relationships, losing jobs, etc.
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Re: Step One

Postby Brock » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:50 am

Very nice synopsis on step one, although I wonder what this has to do with the step -
An acronym for ISM, could be "Insecure, Selfish, Me" or " I, See, Myself" or "I, Sponsor, Myself" and if you sponsor yourself, you have an idiot for a sponsor, because "You can't solve problems by using the same thinking that was used when you created them" (Quoted from Albert Einstein)

So I have an idiot for a sponsor, or do I? In Einstein’s quotation the word before 'thinking' sometimes varies, whether the same thinking, same kind of thinking, or thinking which created the problem, the wording varies but all mean more or less the same thing, some examples -

Einstein 2.jpg

So we can't solve our problems with the same thinking which created them, but we can do the steps without a sponsor, as some of us here have done, and then is my thinking the same as it was, no, because I did what they asked and got the results…
we ask God to direct our thinking...Our thought life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives...our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

Well some come to rely on it, others prefer to rely on another human being.

Sorry to go off on a tangent in reply to a good step one post, but certain comments bring out the soap box side of me.
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Re: Step One

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:19 am

I like Dr Bob's idea: let's keep this simple.
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Re: Step One

Postby Noels » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:34 am

Good posts. Thanks gents :)
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Re: Step One

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:16 am

And for many, the unmanageability doesn't have to be DUI and incarceration. It could be as simple as ruining relationships, losing jobs, etc.


Unfortunately people share the number of DUIs they got, as though its a necessity to qualify oneself as an alcoholic. Turns lot of people with internal difficulties away.
Last edited by avaneesh912 on Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step One

Postby clouds » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:46 am

I came into AA quite young, its not that I didn't have difficulties or came from the perfect home, but really my powerlssness over alcohol and the unmanageablilty of my life didn't come from my previous life before I started drinking because I was just too young to have concretized any rigid habits or mind systems. I think this would apply to me better:

from 'There is a Solution' p.24

"The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our conciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink."

I believe this paragraph explains why I have a mental blank spot when it comes to alcohol. So my defense must come from a Power Greater than myself, as I have no defense against the first drink. By working the steps and practicing the principles I receive the gift of sobriety. I changed through doing the steps and now I'm sober through practicing the steps to the best of my ability.

I think anyone who reads the steps and the book 'Alcoholics Anonymous' can do these steps to attain and maintain sobriety if they earnestly fearlessly thouroughly follow what is outlined and can manage to keep it simple.

People who cannot be honest with themselves have a less than average chance, but they still have a pretty good chance! Just less than average.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Step One

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:24 am

For many powerlessness is just about that part where we couldn't control the AMOUNT we drank. They easily identify with the craving part in the Doctors Opinion. But few relate to the peculiar mental twist that precedes the first drink. Even when they drank deliberately or casually they have little thought about the consequences. There needs to be swift in sharing in meetings.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step One

Postby Barbara D. » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:00 am

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Having made some progress and then being able to look back at it, I can see beyond individual details and get a broader perspective of what was happening. But when I was new, hindsight-sharing didn't help me much unless it was preceded by general drinking details so I could relate to something and see what you did to not drink one day at a time.

I got here high-bottom, atheist, and female and only heard differences at first. I told myself I HAD to stop drinking temporarily and I believed that could be accomplished in AA so I kept coming to meetings. My sporadic drinking had been going on for over 15 years. I can't tell you when taking my first drink meant I would get drunk. Over and over and over again, I kept thinking I could control it and avoid the Jekyll and Hyde hostile drunks.

I had arrived at 2 drunks per week (Mondays and Thursdays) the last couple of years but stayed busy the whole week doing it, feeling bad because I did it again, looking forward to doing it, and round and round. I felt like a monster OR it was all my husband's fault. Compared to most of the other drunks, I had barely gotten started, never mind that homicidal and suicidal thoughts alternated in my brain.

As long as I just talked to people, I concentrated mainly on those differences. I was an island and proud of it. Once I started on the Steps, "I" walked into a meeting but had a sense that "we" could do this with each other's help somewhere in the middle, and then was back to "I" as my Home Group used the Lord's Prayer to close out.

I had no problem with admitting that my life was unmanageable. I had finally made it, had every reason to be happily married with children. But my compulsion and obsession to drink had increased dramatically as I approached 36 years old, and having sons sure didn't calm the waters. I had struggled trying to control Barbara as long as I could remember and had only discovered alcohol in my senior year of high school. I just never fit in, didn't think like the females around me. And I preferred to drink alone right in the beginning.

But I couldn't accept being 100% powerless over alcohol. I did not drink every day. And most of the time my drunks were successful in that I took care of my responsibilities (I thought) and passed out to sweet oblivion which meant I didn't have to deal with the husband. If I could just control those hostile drunks! When I finally accepted that alcoholism is a disease and that I had not been controlling it, just living through a slow progression, then I was able to take Step 1.

Thanks for listening. Barbara D, still alcoholic
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Re: Step One

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:12 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:For many powerlessness is just about that part where we couldn't control the AMOUNT we drank. They easily identify with the craving part in the Doctors Opinion. But few relate to the peculiar mental twist that precedes the first drink. Even when they drank deliberately or casually they have little thought about the consequences.


Indeed, the "lack of power" the book talks about is the powerlessness when stone-cold sober.
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Re: Step One

Postby Roberth » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:19 pm

Hello Dan2000…..have you ever hear of Occam’s razor? "if there are a number of explanations for observed phenomena, the simplest explanation is preferred"

The simplest observation to me for the We and ourselves would be proper English.

Here is the sentence before the listings of the steps;

“Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:”

It would have been “I” and “myself” if the sentence Bill wrote was “the steps I took” no hidden meaning here

Like Dr. Bob say keep it simple
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Re: Step One

Postby Georgiakaren » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:42 pm

This has been good reading for me as I'm working on my first step. I don't want to forget how horrible my last weeks of drinking were. I've started writing about it in my notebook to help me remember. The memory loss, sickness, crazy thinking and bad decisions, and on. It's odd to me, but after all the pain and misery I've been through with alcohol, it was the surprise I got at the end of the 20 questions quiz that helped seal the deal for me. I didn't think I was all that bad, but I have been moving into the end stages of the disease, losing my tolerance, getting serious physical and mental repercussions. But, I know my crazy mind. I need to meditate on this and let it sink in deep enough that my mind can't work it's way around it. And I need to get involved in AA so that I have others to help remind me.
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Re: Step One

Postby Brock » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:38 am

And I need to get involved in AA so that I have others to help remind me.

I am very pleased you see the need to get involved in AA, and the idea of being reminded of our misery by listening to others at meetings is common, but in truth they only speak of their own suffering for us to identify, and think yes this fellow is the real deal, now let me listen to how he recovered.

Our literature goes to great lengths to explain that the only solution is a spiritual awaking as the result of the steps, stories are given of those who thought that will power and memory of suffering would carry them through, then fell flat on their backsides. As early as chapter two, the idea that your memory of suffering will help is shown as false, it says this -
We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

Please go along to some meetings, try a few since they all differ and find where you feel most comfortable, listen to those who speak about the solution they found in the steps, you can't go wrong with AA, it's a wonderful program for a full and joyous life, best of luck.
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