Understanding The 12 Steps - STEP ONE

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The First Step – the First Step is meant to

level you.

So, the beauty of the 12 Steps is that it allows the addict to diagnose himself.

We have to figure out whether or not – or what it means

to be a drug addict or an alcoholic.

What this literature says is that, “if you do this work honestly and

thoroughly, you can go anywhere on this earth where other

free men and women may go without disaster, provided you remain willing to maintain a

certain simple attitude.”

One of the biggest things the First Step did for me…

it all of a sudden put it into focus for me.

So, the first step reads: “We admitted we are powerless over alcohol,

that our lives have become unmanageable.”

It’s mean to be something that leaves you with an utter desperation.

The first thing that we – we focus on is this idea of being recovered but not cured.

So, in effect, the first steps asks, “Do you have this symptom?”

The alcoholic… suffers from a problem in his body; this compulsion.

We call this the compulsion.

We call it compulsion.


But once I became this way, to where I was no longer

drinking and using to escape it, I was drinking and using to

try to overcome this craving that was beyond my mental control,

If you touch anything – go from abstinence and touch any drug,

you’re out of control.

You’re back in the cycle, you’re back on a spree.

The compulsion I have to drugs and alcohol… when I drink or I use,

is once I start, I can’t stop.

I’ve lost the power and choice.

“Do you lose control of your using once you start?”

That’s me!

That’s it, right there!

If you say yes to that, you’re an addict.

It’s the compulsion, this “Once I start I can’t stop,”

that makes somebody a drug addict or an alcoholic.

The bad news about it… is there’s no treatment for it.

I’ll be a drug addict for the rest of my life.

I’m stuck with this for the rest of my life.

If I pick back up I’m going to be, in short time, as bad as ever

Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.

The second I abstain, it precipitates… the other two symptoms.

That my problem is not what happens to me when I’m drinking and using,

my problem is the two other symptoms of this disease.

And those are what happens to me when I’m sober.

I don’t feel okay.

One’s mental.

We call this the obsession.

The obsession, and it happens in the mind.

The definition we put on obsession is persistent, reoccurring thought or idea that’s

stronger than and does not respond to reason.

Which is to say it’s irrational.

If this is, “Once I start, I can’t stop,” this is, “Once I stop, I can’t stay stopped.”

All of these reasons I have for not using don’t stand a chance when that obsession


We’ll get high… and not even realize we did it until after.

And the other is emotional.

We use a cute little acronym for this called R.I.D.

These people are Restless, Irritable, and Discontent.

The good news is that you can be recovered…

I don’t suffer from addiction anymore.

which means you can get to a place where you no longer have that.

So that word recovered, and – and why it’s so powerful is it –

is it showed me that I don’t have to live… in fear of running into alcohol… or running

into a substance.

Recovered, however, does not mean cured.

Cured would mean that you could somehow fix the body,

and turn the alcoholic into a social drinker, which can’t be done.

There’s no way of making a normal… drinker out of me.

Or – or just a casual substance user.

I said I’m never gonna do it again.

But here I am, doing it again.

If I can’t picture my life with alcohol or I can’t picture my life without alcohol,

then it’s not an alcohol problem at that point, it’s a life problem.

I just can’t picture my life.

I justify picking up and putting drugs and alcohol in my body,

‘cause I have to experience some form of the normal human condition,

that I can’t experience without drugs or alcohol.

Drug addicts and alcoholics are emotionally unmanageable.

That’s why they take drugs.

He also says it’s episodic, meaning it comes and it goes and you never

know when it’s gonna hit and in my experience, it hit me when I was

the most vulnerable.

So this thing will show up, but it only shows up… when you’re sober.

I think about getting high, even when I don’t want to.

I think about getting high even though I don’t want to get high.

And it doesn’t matter how much I love someone or love something,

it is not enough to keep me from picking up drugs and alcohol.

And once I get hit with this it doesn’t matter.

I still pick up.

How I feel is more important than anyone or anything.

It’s the cycle of alcoholism, it’s the cycle of addiction at play.

It’s not an intellectual thing, it’s an internal thing, right?

For this to really have meaning, it has to drop down…

into the heart.

Into the gut.

And you really swallow that truth.

I have to really let this sink in.

You can’t just “know it”, you have to “know it.”

What they mean is a personality change was something that was much easier for me to wrap

my head around.

I have two choices… that I accept the spiritual toolkit laid at my feet,

from another alcoholic or drug addict.

Another recovered addict.

Or I carry on to the bitter end.

And I know what this looks like.

That’s the – the honest First Step for me.

It’s a – it’s a letting the truth in, it’s a – it’s a feeling of – of powerlessness

or utter hopelessness.

For me, recovered had to be I actually was in the presence of somebody who was recovered.

And who could explain to me how they got there.

I know he’s done the terrible things I’ve done,

and been all the bad places that I’ve been.

They had credibility to me.

But I’m suffering.

And I’m looking him in the eyes, and I know he’s not.

He looks free.

The messenger is the message.

My recovery started with another man’s twelfth Step.

Action precedes understanding, which is the only reason I got better through

this work.

You just have to be willing to take the action.

The obsession has been removed from me.

For almost twelve years I can go where any free men may go.

I don’t hide from alcohol.

I don’t avoid bad neighborhoods where drugs are sold.

I live free.

As long as I’m willing to live by a few simple rules.