“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
All over the world, AA and Al-Anon meetings are being held on the topic of Step One (even alcoholics like structure!). The first month of the year = the First Step: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable”.
Powerlessness is a constant topic around the meeting tables, no matter what month it is. We don’t like to admit that we can’t do ANYTHING–we like to think that, with the right information and enough self-willpower, we can overcome our problems. Isn’t that what we’ve heard all around us every day? If we would only listen to what the “earth people” say to us about our problems, we’d have it made! “Kick the bum out”, “Stay away from those people, “Strike back.”, “Don’t drink.” (my favorite). Does that sound like I’m powerless to do anything? Of course not! So it must be me; something I’m doing or not doing that is the problem.
And to make matters worse, they add the word “just” in front of each of those suggestions, creating in our minds the idea that it’s easy, which really means “you’re weak”. It’s bewildering because you thought you were trying hard.
It’s no wonder we come into the Program beaten down and used up. We don’t like our life but we don’t know anything else. And just as my self-willpower didn’t STOP me from drinking or reacting to someone else’s drinking, it also can’t KEEP me from drinking or reacting, either. So, if I don’t have the power, and YOU don’t have the power, just Who does? Or IS there any? What we’ve discovered is a totally different power is necessary: God-power. Uh oh. God.
As for myself, I never had a problem thinking that there is a God. Many of us have had a belief in God all our lives. But to think that I was going to have to, as the 3rd Step puts it, “turn our life and our will over to the care of God as we understood Him”, is a little much when you’ve just come through another alcoholic crisis and are so tired. What does that look like, turning my will over to this Power? I’m not sure I want to do that.
Which brings us back to Step One. We only must admit we don’t have the power (because, really if we did, we wouldn’t be here). That’s it. No more. It’s obvious our lives have become unmanageable–no denying that. But let’s give ourselves permission to explore the idea that there may be another way of doing this life.
“An improved perception in humility starts a revolutionary change in our outlook. Our eyes begin to open to the immense values which have come straight out of painful ego-puncturing.” –As Bill Sees It, Pg 156