Step One states: We admitted we were powerless over our problems and that our lives have become unmanageable.
Powerless seems like such a strong word and even concept, especially for those living in America. Our culture has developed a mindset that tells us we are powerful and can control everything. Self-sufficiency is rewarded, applauded, and celebrated in our culture. Phrases and clichés we cling to that reinforce this mind-set are ::
Pull myself up by my bootstraps
I can do anything I put my mind to
Dust yourself off and try again
Keep your chin up
I’ve got to get back up on the horse
Ok, after writing those down, I realized something, those all sound like they’ve just rolled off the tongue of a rancher! I do live in Texas and most of these probably were coined by Cowboys…but you get my point. The spirit of the Old West was very much about self-sufficiency and so is much of our global culture today.
In order to process through Step One, it requires us being honest about what’s lying beneath the surface of our very well put together images. It requires us to see ourselves from a different perspective. Step One requires us to look at the pieces of our life we are busy trying not to see and feel. It asks us to look at the loneliness that drives us to behave in ways that hurt us and others. It asks us to see the broken relationships, resentments, and grudges that motivate negative behavior. We have to come face to face with the numbness of life and emotions we are experiencing because of our addiction. It begins to show us our uncontrollable and unreasonable feelings, expectations, and fears. We come face to face with our desire and tendency to try to control all this chaos.
Step One requires us to let go of our pride and recognize our need for something outside of ourselves. Gerald May states it like this ::
To be alive is to be addicted, and to be alive and addicted is to stand in need of grace.
Today, use your notebook to write down thoughts, insights, or discoveries using these questions.
- Describe your present state (relationally, emotionally, physically, spiritually).
- What behaviors are you using to compensate for negative feelings?
- How do those behaviors affect the rest of your life?
This week we will dive deeper into Step One by talking about meetings, suggested reading, questions for your journaling, and more. You can also check out my 12 Step page. It includes each step, some scripture and prayers, and videos of people telling their experiences with each step.