Working the Steps – Step 1
Over 200 organizations and millions of members worldwide have adopted 12 Step methods to supplement alcohol and drug addiction treatment. As a set of guiding principles, the 12 Step methodologies pave the course of action for reaching successful addiction recovery.
Over the next few weeks we are going to discuss working the Steps to help you and your loved ones recover from addiction and maintain long-term sobriety.
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (or drugs) – that our lives had become unmanageable.”
For many, Step One comes naturally with making the decision to enter a drug rehab treatment facility or 12 Step meeting. The act of recognizing you have a problem and are ready to ask for help is admitting that you are powerless over the disease and your life has become unmanageable; but Step One does not end with starting a treatment program or attending your first 12 Step meeting.
The majority of the work in Step One is through admitting the full extent of your alcohol and drug abuse, including the negative life consequences attributed to the addiction. The full-extent of your addiction will include answers to the following questions:
- How long have you used and to what extent?
- What substances have been abused and how have they affected your health and well-being?
- How has addiction negatively affected your own life?
- Who else have you negatively affected in the process and how?
- Has your life become unmanageable with addiction still a part of it?
- Are you ready to admit your powerlessness over the disease?
Denial is a large contributing factor to our disease. It fools us to believe that we don’t have a problem and hinders our ability to admit that we are powerless to the disease. By taking your first step towards addiction recovery you look denial in the face and realize you aren’t in control of your life and need help.
When we admit our powerlessness and the inability to manage our own lives, we open the door to recovery. No one could convince us that we were addicts. It is an admission that we had to make for ourselves. When some of us have doubts, we ask ourselves this question: “Can I control my use of any form of mind or mood-altering chemicals?”
– Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 1
Working Step One
To recognize whether you are in control of your life or not, it is helpful to take a self-inventory—ask yourself a series of questions and be honest – without full honesty, the inventory is ineffective.
Following are some example questions:
- Has your addiction caused serious damage to any of your close relationships? If so, list with who and how you have caused harm.
- Has your addiction caused you to miss appointments, work, school, etc.? If so, list what you missed and how it may have further affected your life.
- Have you ever been drinking or drugging and have experienced memory lapses where you cannot remember what happened?
- Have you every experienced any additional sicknesses due to your addiction? If so, describe them and how else they may have affected your life.
- Describe any embarrassing or humiliating incidents in your life. Were any of them related to alcohol and drug abuse?
- Do you recall any times you tried to take control of your addiction? Were you successful? If not, did it help show you your powerlessness over the disease?
- Try to summarize the powerlessness and unmanageability of your life you feel is caused by your addiction.
After taking the time to truly evaluate your life you may be realizing the power addiction has over you and the unmanageability of your life. In admitting these two very important factors for reaching recovery, you are ready to start moving towards Step Two.
You may encounter 12 Step methodologies in a drug rehab center with professionals to help guide you through the process. In other situations it is important to stay dedicated to the 12 Steps by fully working each Step and referring back to them if you feel as though your recovery is in danger.
For more information, please refer back to our blog as we discuss how to work the rest of the Steps, or call our addiction specialists to start a treatment program today.
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