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“If you can’t see it’s broke, you aren’t going to fix it.”

It takes courage to admit that our life is out of control. The ever-worsening situation will not just turn itself around and we really cannot just, ‘pull ourselves together.’

But why not?

Because dependency on alcohol, drugs or some obsession or compulsion is an illness. We can no more choose just to send it away than we can opt out of any other disease.

  • Denial
  • Unmanageability
    • External crisis that confirms we cannot cope
    • Breakdown of a relationship
    • Threat or reality of losing a job
    • Something terrible has happened because we were distracted or incapacitated by our obsession
    • Life no longer has sense of purpose
    • We have stopped caring what happens to us and to those around us”
  • Rock Bottom
    • There comes a point at which we cannot deny our need for help
    • For a very few, the admission of powerlessness lets them see how bad their life has become or most it’s the other way around
    • Some crisis finally brings home that we can see no way forward and we feel isolated and without hope
    • It is when despair shows us we have nothing left inside to help ourselves that we finally accept our need for help from outside
    • In that darkest moment we have taken the first step toward recovery
  • Powerlessness
    • Through the revelation that we need help is the dawn of hope
    • There is a new alternative to the self-reliance that was failing
    • We may have to work hard to turn negative feelings of guilt and shame into the positive honesty, humility, open-mindedness and willingness to move forward that are the foundation for our recovery
  • Commitment
    • I must accept that I need help
    • I need to surrender to the belief that recovery is the only way forward
    • I must exclude addiction from my life, and the situations and people that encourage it
    • My recovery must be based on total abstinence

We admitted we were powerless over addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 1 Principles

  • Honesty
    • Accepting and admitting that I have an addiction and that those trying to help me recover need the truth about my feelings and actions
  • Humility
    • Where honesty leads us – when we discover who we really are, we must face it, the good and the bad, and not hide it from others behind a wall of pride
  • Open-mindedness
    • Others will share their insights about addiction and recovery and observations about us
    • An unfamiliar path, especially one that has worked for millions of others, might just be the road to our own recovery
  • Willingness
    • Open-mindedness in action, being ready to take on and follow the advice of those who can help us
    • Honesty and humility in action, allowing others to know who we truly are
    • Being ready to do anything that helps the process of recovery
  • Moving forward
    • Follow our journey to recovery, a journey which will never be over but, if followed with hope and care, will always lead to a better place
    • It cannot be rushed; first we need to be sure we have fully understood and committed to Step 1 – have the courage and confidence to move to Step 2

Step 1 Questions

  1. Are you an addict?
  2. In all honesty, how much control over your life do you have?
  3. How does your obsession or compulsion affect those around you?
  4. Do you lie about or conceal your behaviour?
  5. Is it the fault of others?
  6. Can you see your addiction as an uncontrollable disease?
  7. Has your addiction ever got you in trouble (with the law, those in authority, your family)?
  8. Do you feel you are living on the edge, unable to cope when things go wrong?
  9. Are you past caring?
  10. Have the effects of your addiction prevented you stopping an avoidable disaster?
  11. Rock Bottom? Been there? How and when? Heading there? Why?
  12. Have you already given up your addiction?
  13. Are you in control of how you behave?
  14. Do you use people to support your addiction (stealing, getting them to cover for you, etc.)?
  15. Do you hurt other people (by being angry, self-centred, demanding, manipulative)?
  16. Have you hurt yourself or tried to?
  17. Can you accept abstinence, total abstinence, complete, final, for ever?
  18. Can you take advice?
  19. Are honesty, humility, open-mindedness and willingness qualities you can display, or at least aspire to?
  20. Are you ready to move forward?”