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Working the Steps in Daily Life: Step One

Posted by on in Alcoholism
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In recovery, we go through the steps with our sponsor.  However, the steps also must be worked in our daily lives.  As the Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests, we must practice these principles in all our affairs.


In everyday life, powerlessness is constantly affecting us.  Specifically, we must always remember our powerlessness over our addiction. Keeping close the memory of what happens when we indulge helps drive us every day to work the steps.  Remembering what our addiction looks like is a great motivator.

After working the steps and gaining insight, we discover that we are powerless over much more than our addiction.  Essentially, we are powerless over everyone and everything except ourselves.  We must stop trying to control outside events.

Dr. Paul O. said, "When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment... When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God's handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God."

We must stop trying to control and fix things.  Although in the First Step we are not yet examining a power greater than ourselves, the point still stands: we must recognize our own powerlessness over the world around us, and focus within.  In our daily lives, we must turn our concentration inward, and cease trying to control the external.  This is a simple, yet difficult task; recognizing our powerlessness and letting things go is very counterintuitive.


Unmanageability affects our daily lives as well.  With the powerlessness over other people comes the unmanageability.  Other people, external events, and anything else outside of ourselves is certainly unmanageable.  When we don't recognize our powerlessness over these things, unmanageability grows even stronger.  Trying to exert power over external phenomena creates distress and anxiety.  Recognizing our powerlessness, we must see that everything is unmanageable to us.

In regard to ourselves, unmanageability is quite relevant.  Even with our own actions, thoughts, and emotions, we encounter unmanageability.  In everyday life, we experience thoughts and feelings that we are powerless over.  We sometimes act in ways that we don't intend to, often as a result of living without being mindful.  Our thoughts, actions, and feelings are unmanageable because we are trying to manage every aspect of our lives.  As the steps go on, we must turn our will and our lives over to a Higher Power.  Recognizing the unmanageability of our own lives, we see that we must rely on a greater power to direct us.  At first, this may be the Twelve Steps, the advice of a fellow, or a mentor.  Regardless of what this power is, it helps us manage our lives.

In our daily lives, we can practice both these principles by putting into practice the Serenity Prayer.  We must accept that which we cannot change (everything external and some things internal even), change the things we can (internal things and our relationship with our Higher Power), and recognize the difference.


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