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A Study of Step 1

The 12 Steps of A.A. and Al-Anon


Updated June 23, 2014

After many years of denial, recovery can begin when with one simple admission of being powerless over alcohol -- for alcoholics and their friends and family.

    Step 1
    We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

When alcoholism begins to take control of a family, usually one of the first things to go is honesty. The alcoholic lies about how much he or she drinks and those around them begin to cover for him as the problem progresses and they too become less than honest.

This cycle of lies and keeping secrets can go on for years and that in itself can create an atmosphere that actually causes the situation to deteriorate faster. Even the children get caught up in the lies. It's a family disease.

The family can become totally controlled by diseased thinking. Although the illusion of control may continue, their lives become unmanageable, because alcohol is really in control. It is cunning, baffling, and powerful.

But recovery for the entire family can begin when someone finally breaks the cycle of denial. That first step begins with admitting powerlessness. Finally being honest about the situation. How does that work?

Many members of Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon Family Groups who visit this website have presented some great insight into the healing principles of the 12 steps.

Their stories about how Step 1 has worked in their lives begin here:

More about Step 1

    "I actually asked, What do you mean my life is unmanageable?"

    Stop The Pain
    "At the end of my drinking, I could only manage to ask for help. I had given my adult life to drinking."

    A Rude Awakening
    "I can only say that I am grateful for everything AA has done for me, and indeed, I owe everything I have to AA."

    Illusion Of Power
    "I had to admit and still do, that on my best day, I could do nothing about my loved-one's drinking."

    A Relief
    "The first step has lead me to an unbelievable life. The first step was the beginning to help me believe in a higher power."

    Toward Serenity
    "Today I don't have to admit that I am powerless over alcohol everyday of my life -- I get to admit it! There is so much freedom in that spiritual concept."

Index of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions Study

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  6. A Study of Step 1 of the 12 Steps - Honesty

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