What I Learned From AA’s First Step

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to face our fears. Looking back, I realize I chose the unhealthy route. Drinking and drugging myself into addiction seemed to be my only option as I struggled with my adult boogie men.

Yes, I was genetically predisposed to addictions, and I certainly had experienced my fair share of traumas. But instead of reaching out to a professional counselor, I battled my foes by using chemicals and created a larger, more powerful monster—addiction.

Lessons from Step One

Alcoholics Anonymous became my hero and helped me do battle with my addiction. Beginning with an excellent rehab program and Step One (“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”), it wasn’t too long before I felt that I could control my cravings.

  • Step One taught me that chemicals could and did take over my life. It became very clear that I could never risk returning to drinking and drugging.
  • Step One showed me that my drunken and high self was an absolute mess. I could not control myself and consequently could not control my life.
  • Step One taught me that I had entered a haunted house of horror. Unable to think clearly while using was no way to be functional.

Wanting to be a competent and rational person, I then had to come to terms with three healing and “pertinent ideas;” (AA)

  1. That I am an alcoholic and could not manage my own life.
  2. That no human power could have relieved my alcoholism.
  3. That God could, and would, if He were sought.

A God of My Understanding

I had to quit playing God as that absolutely didn’t work. I thought I knew everything about everything. (How egotistical was I?) But my monsters knew that they couldn’t compete with a God of my understanding. I began to lose my fears of the future and gain confidence that there was a solution. Alcohol was my symptom and my Higher Power is my savior.

If I had allowed that fiendish addiction to overpower me, if I had not let my God show me how to battle, I would not be sober today.

“The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men [women] of faith have courage. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be,”
–The Big Book
, page 68

Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.