It Starts with Step One
Freedom from complete defeat. Funny how that works. The only way to break free of bondage is to admit powerlessness over alcohol. If you would have told me that five years ago, I would have laughed in your face and poured another drink. But today, I get it. In order to experience an abundant life without drugs and alcohol, I have to accept that I can’t, God can. Not always an easy task for an egomaniac like myself.
It seems the spiritual world is full of paradoxes. We must be weak to be strong. We must lose ourselves to find ourselves. We receive love by giving love. We experience freedom when we serve God and others. We discover life when we die to self. We must surrender to regain power. God’s love is a free gift, but we must continuously take action if we wish to receive it.
One of the first lessons I learned upon entering the rooms of AA is that I am in charge of the work and God is in charge of the outcome. In other words, I can’t sit on my butt and expect prayers to be answered—I have to work for them. That’s the difference between sobriety and recovery: sobriety is merely abstaining from drugs and alcohol; recovery is working toward a purposeful, God-powered life without drugs and alcohol.
I may think I have everything under control, but the truth of the matter is, I don’t. My life is not my own, but I must own my recovery. I like that, because at least I am in control of something. Each day, I ask God to help me accept the things I cannot change (people, places and things) and the courage to change the things I can (me). Recovery from addiction is an inside job.
For me, it all starts with Step One: I am powerless over alcohol. I must constantly smash the idea that I can drink like a normal person. But once I admit and accept complete defeat, something amazing happens. I get out of God’s way and let Him work. And so far, I have seen nothing shy of a masterpiece.
Alison Broderick is a freelance writer who is passionate about carrying the message of recovery to those suffering from the disease of addiction. She lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband and two boys, ages 8 and 6, and devotes much of her time to MARR—a non-profit recovery center in Atlanta that provides lasting treatment through gender-specific programs and therapeutic community.