For starters, a family friend—who has been a recovering alcoholic for many years, and we’ve all known this about him—recently mentioned that he doesn’t like to attend parties, particularly around the holidays, because many people drink.
What does this step actually mean? Step 1 is the beginning point of recovery. Without Step 1 you cannot begin your road to sobriety. Admitting that you are powerless over alcohol is acknowledging that you have a problem and that you cannot control it on your own. Many addicts will say things like, "I can stop whenever I want to" or "I do not have a problem". That is the difference between being an addict and recovering.
Admitting that you are powerless essentially breaks the vicious cycle of addiction. The addiction begins with pain; this pain can be any trouble that you have in your life. Then you drink to deal with that pain. The next step is feeling a temporary relief from that pain. Then comes the negative actions and consequences such as DUIs, promiscuous behavior or fighting. The last phase of the cycle is feeling guilty or ashamed for the things that you have done, which in turn begins the whole cycle all over again.
Step 1 may be a step that we have to do over and over again. With the 12 Step program, it is not simply do the step and never revisit it again. Each step represents a certain behavior that we have to display in order to get better.
Remember, being in recovery does not mean that you are no longer an addict. You will be an addict for the rest of your life. However, once you take Step 1 you are on your way to being a recovering alcoholic. Remember, take one day at a time and the program works if you work it!