Today with the understanding of powerless, our number one priority is our relationship with our creator and how we can best serve. This step is not saying you are powerless over your actions, decisions, or relationships with others; only over your addiction to alcohol or drugs. It is not an excuse to continue in a destructive cycle because there’s nothing you can do about it. Embracing powerlessness allows individuals to cultivate resilience, humility, trust, and surrender. Through mindfulness practices, seeking support from others, and embracing a higher power or spiritual connection, individuals can find the strength to overcome addiction and lead fulfilling lives in sobriety. By incorporating these tools and practices into their recovery journey, individuals can develop resilience, find support, and experience a greater sense of freedom and inner peace.

  • The concept of powerlessness not only can act as a barrier for getting clean and sober but can also act as an excuse, a rationalization or a justification for someone not getting clean and sober.
  • This understanding helps individuals to let go of the illusion of control and open themselves up to the possibility of recovery.
  • It denies the reality of all the other unsuccessful attempts you’ve made to stop as a result of major consequences.
  • Powerlessness is a lack of decision-making control over your life.
  • They might also experience circumstances that help them realize how much their drug use is negatively affecting their life such as losing their job, getting a divorce or getting in trouble with the law.
  • Through this acceptance, individuals can find the support and resources they need to build a foundation for lasting sobriety.

Understanding powerless, that I had no choice, changed my life. It wasn’t until I had a full understanding of this word that my spiritual journey really was able to begin. It also made me realize that I’m not a bad person or a weak person. I saw that I was worse than I knew, but understanding the problem helped me accept the solution.

How Yoga for Addiction Recovery Works

It frees you up to focus your time and energy on things that are within your control. Perhaps you are familiar with the words of the Serenity Prayer, which is commonly recited at AA meetings. In our recovery programs for men in Colorado, we work on this step.

This understanding of the word obsession explains why we keep going back to pick up the first drink or drug. It makes so much sense when we look back at our behaviors—the threat of relationships ending, poor health, work-life, bad decisions, legal trouble, etc. We’re powerless when our mind is obsessing, so 50 Substance Abuse Group Therapy Activities for Recovery it’s nearly impossible to make the right decision. I remember the first time I attended a 12-step recovery meeting. I was there to listen to one of my clients tell her story at a treatment center. This was many years before I ever came to realize that I myself needed to be a member of the same fellowship.

How To Overcome Powerlessness Over Addiction

Other 12-step programs include Al-Anon, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, and others. These groups use similar principles, but each has its own unique approach. The Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Big Book states that “we were powerless over our drug problem” as its first tenet. Like AA members, NA members believe they cannot control drugs without the help of a higher power. It’s not easy to admit this, but if we don’t accept that we are powerless, then we won’t be able to move forward. We live in a society that tells us we should be able to figure out our problems and overcome challenges on our own; that if we can’t, we’re weak.

examples of powerlessness in recovery

Recognizing this unmanageability is crucial because it propels individuals toward seeking help and making lasting changes. The above statement is the First Step of AA, NA and other Twelve-Step support groups and is considered to be the most important. If the addict cannot complete this initial step, truly recovering from the devastating effects of substance abuse and addiction will not be possible.

What Groups Use Powerlessness to Benefit Recovery?

But the terminal stages of addiction will strip everything away, and an addicted person who refuses to recover will often be left with nothing. As we go through the process of Step One, we are moving from a lack of awareness into an awareness of the reality of this disease and the possibility of change. We are beginning to believe that we are capable of living in a different way. Not all peer-led mutual support organizations believe in this idea of powerlessness.

  • By asking a HP to handle these things, I move toward acceptance of my powerlessness and choose therefore to direct my time and energies toward areas where I am not powerless.
  • Although you can’t change your addiction, you can learn how to live a sober life in recovery.
  • It involves acknowledging the limitations of control over addiction and surrendering to the process of healing.
  • Powerlessness is a feeling that comes from not having control over something important in our lives.

It is not a substitute for clinical treatment or individualized therapeutic services. Write down in detail 3 different examples of how your life during your time of acting out has become unmanageable. Powerlessness does not necessarily mean being weak; it simply gives an addict the opportunity to adopt a more humble attitude. Humility can be a great quality to have especially in recovery because it allows someone to be more open-minded and willing to listen or learn new things. Being humble can also prevent the kind of overconfidence in recovery that can ultimately lead to relapse.

Spiritual Growth

Additionally, the powerlessness referred to in the First Step also refers to the fact that the addict will continue using drugs and alcohol despite the consequences they may encounter. These consequences can be physical, emotional and psychological in nature, and can also include economic and legal consequences as well. With that said, there is often some confusion about apprehension towards the steps and the concept of powerlessness.

I recall thinking how nice it was for all of these people to take time out of their day to bear witness to this woman recounting the horrors of her past and her substance abuse. Little did I know that years later I would be stuttering out my name in a packed 12-step meeting in Amsterdam in 2007. Meanwhile praying to God that no one would recognize me, and that I wouldn’t be found out and lose my job the next day. For many individuals in recovery, embracing a higher power or spiritual connection is a significant tool in surrendering to powerlessness. This can involve finding solace in a religious faith, connecting with nature, or exploring spiritual practices that resonate with personal beliefs.