For those following the 12 Step program, step one marks the beginning of a new life. However, it’s the hardest step for many to take because it means coming to terms with not drinking or using ever again. Step one uses words like “defeat,” “personal powerlessness” and “surrender,” all of which goes against society’s “work hard, play harder” attitude. We’re commonly told that only suckers give up in defeat. Well, step one throws all of that out of the window. Here are the top five benefits from practicing step one every day.
1. You No Longer Have to Work So Hard
We live in a world that tells us to never accept defeat, to keep fighting and that everything will be fine if you just pull yourself up by your bootstraps. However, this sort of thinking is detrimental to the alcoholic or addict. Step one says that it’s okay to accept defeat. It’s okay to admit personal powerlessness. And more importantly, that asking for help is a good thing. Alcoholism and addiction is not a matter of will—it is a disease.
2. You Find Freedom in No Control
Being able to admit defeat is liberating and it’s powerful. It’s like being able to relax after an extremely stressful situation. There’s a saying that goes, “It’s not change that’s uncomfortable. It’s our resistance to change that’s uncomfortable.” By admitting that you are powerless over drugs and alcohol, you can actually gain power and freedom. Being able to admit defeat is a humbling act. It smashes the ego and makes room for the healing that lies ahead. However, when you insist on being in control, you only continue to sink deeper and deeper.
3. You Better Understand Your Disease
Alcoholism and addiction is a disease. And that’s just the way it is. The disease manifests as a mental obsession that says, “It’s okay to have just one.” That “one” then kicks off a physical craving that is absolutely beyond human comprehension. It’s not the fifth or sixth drink (or hit) that’s the problem—it’s always back to that “first one.”
4. You Don’t Have to Hit Rock Bottom
In Alcoholics Anonymous’ early years, only the most desperate cases could accept that their condition was hopeless. Fast forward to today and you’ve got the latest iPhone, job, car or other “stuff,” as it’s called in the rooms. However, sometimes it’s the “stuff” that can actually make admitting defeat a ridiculous notion.
Step one invites you to take a real look at the unmanageability caused by your drinking and using (i.e. losing the relationship, the DUIs, alienation from the family, losing the job, etc.) without needing to really lose it all to get the picture. Step one gives you a chance to raise your bottom just a little bit.
5. You Can Surrender…and Win
The beautiful thing about step one is that we surrender one day at a time. No one can diagnose you as an addict or an alcoholic—only you can do that. However, with step one, you can surrender and cease fighting the idea that you can win out over drugs and alcohol. You’re never going to beat the game. An alcoholic or addict can never safely drink or use again. Surrendering to this fact is something you can’t do for someone or something else. You have to do it for yourself. And it’s a realization that comes from within.