Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
“We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us.”
2 Corinthians 1:9
Admitted - to concede as true or valid
Powerless - devoid of strength or resources
“Our lives” - a way or manner of living
Unmanageable - difficult to keep under control or within limits
Step 1 allows us to get honest with and about ourselves. When we admit we are powerless we are saying that we do not have the strength and/or the resources necessary to control our behavior with regard to a specific substance or action. When this behavior has a negative impact on our manner of living our lives have become unmanageable – we have a problem and we need help with it.
So if we concede as true that we are devoid of the strength and/or resources we need to keep the behavior we struggle with from making the way we live out of control or beyond acceptable limits, then that behavior is a problem. When we admit our powerlessness and unmanageability, we have recognized there is a problem and can ask for help. We have taken a step towards the truth of our situation:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
If the problem of powerlessness exists but we keep trying to control our behavior anyway, we are in a state of denial. This is a mental state of fantasy or unreality which ignores or “forgets” all past attempts (and failures) of control, believing “this time will be different”. If control were possible, there would be no problem to begin with, as there would be no unmanageability. Denial assumes many forms, such as: “It’s not that bad”, “If you had my problems”, “I need to…”, “I’m different”, etc. – all to avoid the fact that a problem exists and we cannot deal with it by ourselves.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Steps 1, 2 and 3 tell us that we can’t change ourselves or our loved ones but that God can and will when we come to Him for help. We learn to stop trying to do it ourselves and start trusting God to do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. We “give up” and we win! The less we “try” to control, the less we have to-we allow God to work unhindered by our “help” and life as we know it becomes happier and more productive than we ever imagined it could.