Taking the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous seriously is a monumental step forward in your sobriety journey. The first step is when an alcoholic finally surrenders to the fact that they cannot stop drinking on their own, and that their drinking is causing major problems in their life. When a person finally admits that they are alcoholics, all of their strategies to find a way to continue to drink- must end. The first step is vital for the process of recovery. Once it is done, that person is on there way towards long-lasting sobriety. There are millions of people who have sustained rewarding recovery from alcoholism for years and even multiple decades. Since the 12-step program has helped so many people get and remain sober, why do many alcoholics resist the program? It is ironic but true that most people who do recover from alcoholism with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous initially did not like the program. It is more common to meet recovering alcoholics who say they disliked and even hated AA until they were desperate enough after hitting the bottom to accept the philosophy and take steps to achieve sobriety.
The First Step of AA Explained
The first step of Alcoholics Anonymous requires that the person who is struggling admit that they have a problem. For alcoholics, this is where their disease overpowers the reality of their drinking. All alcoholics want to continue to drink. They will first, before quitting or accepting help, modify what and when and where and with who they drink, in search of another way. They do this in hopes of finding the magic answer that will allow them to continue drinking. The problem is that when a person is an alcoholic, they cannot stop drinking or control their drinking, no matter what. It does not matter how they alter the stage for how they drink, as they will not be able to maintain control.
How Important is the 1st Step in AA?
The first step is also about admitting how out of control this person becomes when they consume alcohol most times in any amount, but certainly when they drink heavily. Alcoholics drive drunk, drink, and get arrested, have arguments and fights with loved ones or strangers, and can have dangerous blackouts where they are not aware of what they are doing. The list of ways a person’s life can become unmanageable because of alcohol is extensive. For some, they drink until they are financially broke and homeless. Others may drink until their spouse divorces them, and still, others may drink until they are locked up for years in prison. All of the consequences of alcoholism are negative. The first step is written to help a person finally get honest about their drinking. The first step of Alcoholics Anonymous says:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
To unpack this statement from an alcoholics point of view: It is asking them to stop being who they are and as they understand how to exist, as the basis of their survival involves being able to consume alcohol. It requires them to let go of the one thing that solves all their problems. If a person no longer has power over what makes them feel good, then it is no longer serving their needs. The first step means for an alcoholic that they are no longer alright and that it is their drinking that is harming them. To a non-alcoholic, this might seem obvious. However, for alcoholics, their disease makes them see it differently.
Alcoholism and Your Mind
The disease of alcoholism is a progressive and chronic illness that affects a person’s mind and emotions. Alcoholism stems from multiple influencers. These influencers include a family history of alcoholism, environmental influences in the home during childhood, such as abuse, neglect, or trauma. Other influencers that can lead to alcoholism also include emotional and mental health disorders, as well as exposure to alcohol and drinking during childhood or early teen years, even if it was only condoned. Once a person surrenders and gets honest about how their drinking is a terrible problem for them, they can then become willing to hear how to stop and how to heal. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous guide people on how to change at emotional and spiritual levels. Then it helps them to learn how to put their new understanding of themselves and life into practice. Many recovering alcoholics will say that they fully realize that the drinking was only a symptom of their disease. The disease of alcoholism is what makes people want to drink so they can feel better. The first step of AA is for many a daily action to take mentally as recovering alcoholics understand that although there is no cure for alcoholism, the work they do to remind themselves of their condition is how they can and do enjoy their life sober.