Step One – Admitting Our Need

Step One – Admitting Our Need

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

I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate . . . Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:15,24

For a long time, like most addicts, I didn’t have a problem. I thought I controlled my use and I believed I maintained that control long after I’d lost it. Addicts though, are experts at denial. I remember once looking back at the previous year, realizing how few nights I’d slept without using. That can’t be good. Do I have a problem?

Still, I believed that I was in charge. I’ll just cut back. When I couldn’t cut back, I had to accept that something was wrong. I wasn’t ready to admit I was an addict, but I knew I was out of control. Like the apostle Paul, I found it maddening that I kept on doing the thing I desperately wanted to stop – or maybe just cut back on.

Eventually, as the life problems began to pile up, I had to accept that I was addicted. Still though, I thought I could just will myself to stop. I swear, this is the last time. I’ll never use again! I made up my mind, and I meant it, but that couldn’t save me from myself.

To me, this is really what step one is about: Admitting that I am a disaster on my own and that I cannot save myself. Apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5). God did not create me to live independently of him and honestly, I’m a complete mess when I try. God allows me to need him, so that I may learn dependence on him. It is only when I acknowledge my need – and my inability to fix it – that I turn to God for help.

This isn’t just about the alcohol mentioned in step one. This is about whatever destructive thing it is that we cannot stop doing. For some, it’s chemicals, but for others, it’s pornography, gambling, work, greed, pride, anger, resentment, or overeating. Most of, if we are painfully honest, know what it is that we wish we could stop.

Step one doesn’t solve all our problems, but if we want to recover, we must first admit our need.


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