Step One of The 12 Step Recovery Program: The12Steps.com
by “Soldier Billy” at The 12Steps.com
Step Number 1
“Admitted we were powerless over (what ever your affliction) and that our lives were unmanageable….”
It was suggested to me that I wrote my personal ‘step one’ down so that I could see it for what it really was!
I wrote what happened to me that last time I drank/drugs.
- The fear it created.
- The guilt it created.
- The regret it created.
- The harm I did to myself.
- The harm I did to other people.
- The financial damage.
- The psychological damage.
- The relationship damage.
- The mental damage.
- How it effected my working.
- How it effected my self esteem.
I wrote all of this down and then put the facts into an envelope, I put the envelope in a safe place to be taken out, read and scrutinized. After a while the thinking says, “It was not that bad, you will get away with one”. So, when the step one is written it cannot be denied that along with the passing of time, that all of this did not occur. So, I know today, that if I drink, all that is in that envelope will come back to me again. Thankfully, today, I have a choice. In the past I had no choice.
The “unmanageability”, guilt, resentment, hatred, debt, anxiety, fear, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, depression, self loathing, all of these caused “DIS-EASE” and that dis-ease caused me to crave. Another way of looking at craving is that it is a feeling that will go away once you feed it with whatever it is crying out for!
In my case, my past had caused me so much DIS-EASE that I just wanted rid of feelings, I felt fear all of the time, and thoughts would race through my head. My drinking career was very short, but when I drank, I drank in a way that harmed people around me, and it also put my own life in danger. It cost me much more than money, I ended up in an army alcohol addiction unit. I would not accept that I was an alcoholic. The psychiatrist explained to me, (after I had tried to punch him for hinting that I had a drink problem!) that “an alcoholic is a person who constantly does damage to himself, or to other people through his or her drinking”. I drank because of my anxiety. I can now see that it was unmanageable, because I had denied it. I did not want to discuss it. This was due to the fear of being thrown into the “nuthouse”. Also I was trapped in “macho mode”. How could I tell people that I was a serving soldier, but, I could not get on a bus, train or meet people in a social way unless I was under the influence of alcohol? Yet, I was still involved in active service as a soldier, and I carried out my job in an exemplary manner. I was a prisoner of people’s opinions. I was always wanting to be liked, and I would crash down on anyone who I thought disliked me. It was always conflict, never peace. In my time in AA and NA, I have met so many people who had totally different drinking/using patterns to myself.
I was very lucky to meet a lovely old lady in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. I was asking her what her rock bottom was. She told me that she could not sleep, and what she told me was that a ¼ glass of Sherry would get her to sleep. She told me that she would crave all day for her Sherry. She said it soon crept up to 3 full glasses of Sherry. Her rock bottom was the thought of 4 glasses of Sherry! I looked at this woman who was old enough to be my Grandma and I thought, “Great, she has got more courage, and more of an insight into where she was heading, which is more than I have!”. That, taught me a lot. I realised then that the only requirement for membership was a desire to stop drinking. I know that if I was to drink, because of a problem, it would be like putting out a fire with petrol! It would only make matters worse. So, step one, I fully understand the implications of today!
I was always seeking the 4 ‘A’s:
Seeking the 4 ‘A’s caused me so much pain. Always wondering what people would think of me, my fear of rejection kept me in a violent mode. I was scared to say no. This kept me involved in gang warfare, in my heart I knew I should not be involved with that lifestyle, but my head was telling me to seek the 4 ‘A’s. I understand now that the heart and the head should be in tune. That is what the rest of the steps are about.
Today I get the 4 ‘A’s by trying to live a spiritual, caring life.
Yours in fellowship, Soldier Billy…
source: a really great website operated by “Soldier Billy” over at www.the12steps.com.