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Old 12-31-2013, 12:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Default Step One

About Step 1

"Who cares to admit complete defeat? Practically no one, of course. Every natural instinct cries out against the idea of personal powerlessness. It is truly awful to admit that, glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us. . . But upon entering AA we soon take quite another view of this absolute humiliation. We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built"
[Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, AA World Services, 1953]

"People in the Twelve-Step programs know that until you're hurting enough, the steps won't work for you. But for the fortunate sufferer, there comes a time when he or she says, "I've got to get well. I can't stand living like this anymore." And that is when one is ready for the miracles of the Twelve Steps."
[Keith Miller, A Hunger for Healing, Harper, 1991]

"Just as the healing of a physical disease can only begin when we acknowledge the disease, so the spiritual healing of our obsessive/compulsive behavior begins when we acknowledge the existence of the problem. In Mark 10:51, it was obvious to others that Bartimaeus was blind. However, he had to openly ask Christ to heal his blindness. Until we realize this truth, our progress toward recovery will be blocked. Our healing begins when we are willing to acknowledge our problems.
[Anonymous, The Twelve Steps for Christians, RPI Publications,1988]

Step 1: Related Biblical Themes

# We. The first word of Step One sends a powerful message. The healing which the Steps make possible is a healing that takes place in community, not in isolation. All addicts are lonely. Most of us would probably prefer to recover in isolation. But it doesn't work that way. The importance of community is a major biblical theme. God's call to his people has always been a call to community, to be a part of the family of God. The practical benefits of this are expressed well in texts such as:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

# Admitted This Step is about telling the truth. Telling the truth is not complicated theologically - God is a God of Truth. Denial, a central feature of all addictions, is a powerful internal resistance to the truth. The biblical perspective on truth-telling is clear:

"Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor"
Ephesians 4:25

# Powerless. The idea of powerlessness is often misunderstood. It does not mean that we are totally incompetent and helpless in every way. The focus here is on the disempowered will. We cannot simply 'choose' not to be addicted. Willpower is not powerful enough. Our problem is more serious and complicated than that. It is important to remember that all alcoholics and addicts have chosen not to be addicted. Usually many times. Always unsuccessfully. The Apostle Paul did a good job of describing this experience of the disempowered will when he said:

"I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out."
Romans 7:18

This is exactly the experience of addiction. The problem is not so much that we want the wrong thing, but that we are powerless to do the right thing. As we will see in later Steps, there is an important role for the 'will' to play in recovery. To experience Step One, however, it is absolutely critical to understand the futility of 'willpower' as a solution to the problem of addiction. Just trying harder will not work.

Some Christians express concern that the idea of powerlessness diminishes the significance of personal choice and responsibility. It is important, however, to remember that the Bible does not present our 'problem' as 'we make bad choices' and the solution as 'we should make better choices.' The Bible presents a much more complicated picture of the human condition and, thankfully, a much more grace-full solution! Emphasizing the 'enslaving' nature of evil does not minimize the seriousness of the problem nor our personal responsibility for our behavior. It does make it clear that no solution that relies simply on willpower has any chance for success.

# Over alcohol.
The only common adaptations made to Step One are to replace the word "alcohol" with another addictive substance or process. For example, in Narcotics Anonymous the word "alcohol" is replaced with "addictive substances." In some 'Christianized' versions of the Twelve Steps the word alcohol is sometimes replaced with the word "sin" or "the human condition" or "the effects of our separation from God." Using one of these very general expressions may help make it clear that people who struggle with a wide range of specific problems are welcome in a particular program and it also may make it easier for some Christians to feel comfortable in the program. There are disadvantages, however, to using general language here. It can lead to confusion and lack of focus in group process and some people may experience theological language as a barrier to participation in the program.

# Unmanageable Lives.
Early in recovery it is sometimes difficult to see the full extent of the unmanageability of our lives. Some of us continue to function at high levels in our careers and can appear successful. But the truth will eventually be made clear. Addictions are progressive illnesses. We find ourselves using more, using more frequently or using with more negative consequences as time goes on. This is because addictions are inherently unsatisfying. They do not satisfy us. They only lead to a longing for more. It is this lack of satisfaction that leads us to build unmanageable lives - lives devoted to things which can never satisfy.

"Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare."
Isaiah 55:2
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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