Find a meeting

My problem is

…I’m an alcoholic. Step One tells me two things about myself and explains one. Two things that I never knew – that alcohol had power over me and that my life was unmanageable. Two completely separate statements of fact, two conclusions of the mind and neither are connected, hence the hyphen. In essence, Step One tells me what my problem is.

I’d always thought I drank too much. This Step, however, tells me that it’s not how much I drank or what I drank. It tells me quite simply that alcohol has power over me. Something I never knew nor had I ever thought about.

The second part of this Step tells me that my life was unmanageable. But how can this be? I’m married, I run a business, I’ve never lost my licence, I pay my taxes, my children are good honest members of society and I’ve never been in trouble with the police. So how could my supposedly ideal life be unmanageable? Well, it was but I just couldn’t see it. The truth of my life was this. I had no friends, I had resentments towards so many people, I hated myself, I was angry and I got drunk at home a lot. I was untidy, smelt, needed my teeth sorting out and I’d lost the will to live. I hated my parents, and my drive and enthusiasm had disappeared. But I also had two cars on the drive and lived in a beautiful house. My clean and tidy exterior covered up an unhealthy and unmanageable life underneath. I just couldn’t see it until it was pointed out to me. But accepting and seeing how my life was unmanageable took a while to digest. I’d spent a lifetime building a good honest life, a life I could showcase to the outside world. My vision of an unmanageable life involved prisons, divorce, debt, broken homes and a lifetime of loss. All the things that I didn’t have. It turned out that my life of loss was invisible to me because I’d not lost anything materially.

Unfortunately, what I never did see, and was much more difficult to understand, was that I’d lost myself. I’d lost my ambition, my self-worth, my self-respect, my place in this world and the spark I used to have each morning. I’d lost my vision for a bright future.

Through the Twelve Steps I did find a power stronger than the power of my alcoholism but my life didn’t instantly become manageable. The unmanageability in my life is still a work in progress. But it’s so much better than it was. Step One only asks me to accept that I’m powerless over alcohol and that my life is unmanageable. In admitting these to myself, I’ve completed this Step and can move on to Step Two.

Step One is the only Step I can do 100% – and it’s the only Step that mentions alcohol. Since taking this Step, I’ve not had a drink, so well done to Step One.