“Lack of Power, that was our dilemma.”
Big book of Alcoholics Anonymous page 45
This is really like saying, I am powerless, as powerlessness is a lack of power. It’s been my inability to accept that lack of power that can still make my life uncomfortable today. My inability to accept my alcoholism led me to believe that I could control it, control being just a matter of finding the right combination of circumstances.
Powerless, as defined, meaning we are without ability, influence, or power, in a situation. This can be a difficult thing to accept. Lets say I am late for work or school. When I offer my reason for being late, even though it may be completely reasonable, I may still be subject to reprimand or ridicule. I have no power over how others react to circumstance, in effect, I am powerless. If I accept that powerlessness, then I can go about my day without dwelling too much on the event. It is when I don’t accept my powerlessness over something, that creates conflict, inside of me, and within.
It is my opinion that for the most part, control over anything is an illusion. When I am trying to control people, places and things, whether it is in my actions or in my thinking, my level of serenity, goes down. So when I can let go of control, allow people and places to be as they are, and let the universe decide, then my peace within goes up.
“We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery.” –Alcoholics Anonymous big book page 30 *
What a great statement this is, there is so much packed into two short sentences. The sentence opens up with its first clause of “We Learned”, so this means at this point there is something that has been teaching us. Most people learn through the process of making mistakes, the value of learning from a relapse, as eluded to in the previous paragraph. Second to concede means to accept as true, my personal favorite definition is this one. “admit that something is true or valid after first denying or resisting it.” **
So what this basically is saying to me is, We learned through the process of making mistakes that we had to accept it as true to our innermost selves, our innermost selves being accepting this in our hearts, that we were alcoholic. When we could do that the battle in our thinking would quiet. At least it did for me.
The second sentence, “This is the first step in recovery.” is not to be confused with step one of the 12 steps. It is important to identify though, this process is a first step taken in relevance to understanding step 1 on a deeper level. Once I begin to move toward acceptance of my alcoholism, or in any case, whatever it is you are powerless over, then understanding step one with more depth and clarity happens.
Were I to re-write this, in a simple format for me to digest, It would read like this, “We learned through the process of mistakes, that we had to fully accept in our hearts that it was true that we were powerless over our substance of choice, and that with acceptance of that powerlessness, I begin to open my mind to a solution. Once eliminating that doubt, then we can begin to move forward with fully comprehending the first step of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
“Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems.” – AA Big book, page 42. *
This quote is just profound to me. First what is a spiritual principle? Second, Does this mean I need to join a religion? Absolutely not. That was part of why Alcoholics Anonymous was a success, was because it was spiritual, not religious in it’s foundation.
Spiritual principles, to list are few are, love, patience, kindness, open mindedness, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, to just name a few.
If I can apply those principles to any problem, my perceptions of that problem will change, and in turn, will help shed new light on the problem, and in turn, on solutions.