A.A. – Step 1

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.


Is this surrender, or humility? Surrender is what you do in the middle of the fight, and you quit. But, when you have lost the fight, don’t call that surrender. That is accepting reality. This is a big step, it is the foundational step.

Before you can use directions to get somewhere, you need to know where your starting point is. For example, the directions to getting to New York City, where I was born, start with where you are NOW.

Who or what is in control?

If you don’t know that alcohol, or whatever your “drug-of-choice” is, has beaten you beyond control, how can you get back into the driver’s seat? If you say that you haven’t been beaten, then you don’t need this program, do you? It is not for those that think they can manage on their own or are still trying to be a “Lone Ranger” in their spiritual walk.

Sounds Familiar!

This is a lot like admitting we are sinners and can’t make ourselves clean, doesn’t it?

This is why many people say that you are “talking-to-the-bottle” if the drunk hasn’t hit bottom yet. If doing it your way is so good, why are you reading this?

This is why I pray that all drunks, addicts, etc. have it so bad that they do hit bottom. That’s when they have a chance to turn their life around. Only when their life can’t “get-any-worse-than-this”, can they start upward.

Hitting Bottom

Yet, if they think that they still can handle it and that everyone else is hounding them, maybe they should read “The Big Book” and see why this was made the first step by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Not by preachers or doctors or therapists or “experts”, but by people who have walked the path. They know what it’s like to be wanting their dreams and their hopes and their futures back from where they had been lost.

Someone said: “Addiction is giving up everything for one thing. Recovery is giving up one thing for everything.”

Being trapped, isolated from reality becomes very lonely.

Anyone who does what they want when they want is trapped by their desires. They cannot be free because they are trapped in a very “comfortable” and self-serving trap. It is a trap when you realize where those desires are taking them in the long run. We all have to learn to break free of what we want so that we can be a bigger part of the wonders and goodness of life.

Oh, you are not insane? I see. If using your drug of choice has given you such a rotten life so far, isn’t it insane to think that it will do you any differently in the future? Instead of looking only 6 or 7 hours ahead (if that far), look a week ahead, or even a month. A friend of ours defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Another has said, “we can not solve problems with the same thinking that created them.”

Please comment and/or respond to what you heard inside of you as you read this! Let’s share!

The Steps

  • Introduction
  • Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Step 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  • Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • Step 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove our shortcomings.
  • Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  • Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  • Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  • Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  • Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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