Written By: Fiona Stockard

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

powerless over alcohol

What’s The Definition of Powerlessness and Unmanageability

The definition of powerless is “being unable to do something, or unable stop doing something; lacking strength or power; helpless and totally ineffectual.”

The definition of unmanageable is “difficult or impossible to manage; given to resisting control or discipline by others.”

What Do These Mean When Related to Alcohol and Our Lives?

What powerlessness means to me is drinking against my will. If I’m unable to stop drinking, well, how can I think I’m able to control my life? Even with incredible willpower and a genuine desire to stop, I had no choice. I had to drink and once I started drinking I couldn’t stop. That’s because alcoholism is a disease.

Have you ever said the following things as a result of alcoholism? I know I have.

  • I can’t keep a job
  • I’ve lost all my money and savings
  • I’ve lost all my friends and no one in my family will talk to me
  • I’ve gotten DUI’s
  • I have liver disease
  • I’ve been to the hospital three times for alcohol poisoning!
  • My spouse divorced me
  • I’ve been to rehab multiple times

The First Step

It makes perfect sense why this is the first step of recovery! I mean, how am I going to stay sober and grow spiritually if I can’t even believe that I’m an alcoholic?

We have to know, and I mean really know, that we have no control whatsoever over alcohol. We have to know that if we drink, even one drink, our lives will soon spiral out-of-control. Those of us who’ve relapsed (and I’m one of them) know that when we drink, life gets worse and worse.

The first step is a relief for many. The first step is a kind of freedom. Being able to admit and come to terms with being an alcoholic is the start of a new chapter. Being able to openly accept and admit that our drinking and lives are unmanageable is a new beginning.

Those who can’t admit powerlessness and unmanageability may have a reservation to drink again. Don’t get discouraged! Many alcoholics find it hard to admit, at first. Through honestly working the rest of the twelve-steps, our perspectives change. To put it another way, the twelve-steps show us a part of ourselves we never knew existed!

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