Step 1: Admit That You Are Powerless Over It

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over [insert any addiction to a substance, your thinking, to status, etc] — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Over the next 12 days, I will be looking at how the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous can be used to direct our collective spiritual journey. The idea came after reading Richard Rohr’s book Breathing Underwater, which illuminates the spiritual power of the AA program.

I know what you are probably thinking…Ben, I’m not an alcoholic. How can the 12 steps help me?

Well, I’m sorry to tell you this but you are an addict!

We all are addicted to something. Whether it be a substance, your own way of thinking, or social status, every person struggles with an emotional addiction of the soul.

The 12 step program can be a profoundly opening experience for those who are willing to take the journey. For AA is not only focused on getting over the physical addiction to a substance but to the recovery from the underlying emotional addiction that is the root cause.

Bill Wilson, the man who drafted the 12 Steps and the AA BIg Book in 1935, is noted saying that you will never be in recovery until you are able to overcome the emotional addiction that caused you to pick up the bottle in the first place.

And we all need a recovery from this same addiction.

“You cannot heal what you do not first acknowledge.” ― Richard Rohr, Breathing Underwater

At the core of AA lies two central themes. Of which, one must completely embody if one is ever able to recover. These two themes are honesty and humility.

No wonder the first step is the denunciation of personal power. The whole program is centered around the humility to vulnerable and to accept that you, in fact, are part of the problem. One must become powerless if one is to be healed.

Not hopeless, but powerless. This is where any real spiritual transformation starts.

You must die to your small self.
You must be willing to feel humiliated to find real humility.
You must first be honest with yourself, before being honest with others.

Once you come to the edge of yourself, which my brothers and sisters in recovery know all too well, you will finally be able to completely surrender your own power to the power of something greater.

Tomorrow we will talk about this Power, but today, take a second to contemplate on your own addictions.

What part of your life has become unmanageable?
What aspect of daily living is always stressing you out?
How have you been relying solely on your own willpower?

The answers to these questions may be difficult to accept, but it is only there that transformation happens.

See you tomorrow.

Let’s Fall Inward, Shall We

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