Most people think that step one merely consist of the principle we know as honesty. For me step one contains so much more than that. Step one of the 12 steps of AA is the foundation upon which we work the other 12 steps. Step one encompasses the principles of humility, honesty, and surrender.
Step one of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous states “We admitted we were powerless of alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.” The admission of powerlessness is where the true healing and the discovery of power in a higher power comes from. The humility we feel when admitting defeat and that we are powerlessness is a humility we must carry with us through our entire journey in sobriety. This humility and remembrance of being totally defeated by alcohol is what will keep us willing and willingness is indispensable when it comes to getting and staying sober. When you totally surrender and are honest with yourself about being alcoholic you are then capable of realizing that you need the steps in order to stay sober. Not only that but you need another power other than yourself and alcohol in order to stay sober. This is what is going to allow you to be earnest, humble, willing, and desparate enough to do whatever it takes and whatever is suggested to continue on with your sobriety. Without the admission of defeat and the honesty with yourself about your lack of power you will never be able to in effect have a spiritual experience because you will be unable to accept a new power such as God or whatever your higher power is neither will you be capable of being honest throughout the rest of the steps. The first step of AA is really not a hard one if you find that you have been incapable of stopping regardless of consequences or that you knew the consequences and drank or used drugs anyways than you probably are powerless.
Letting go of power is a fundamental principle of AA because we come to rely on a higher power. If we are still holding onto the idea that we have some kind of control or power over our lives than a higher power cannot come in and do what is necessary for us to live happy, joyous, and free as well as sober. Many times newcomers don’t realize that surrendering and being honest about your condition is one of the most freeing experience. They think the honest admission of powerlessness is a flaw, a sign they are weak, or the ones who don’t want to take responsibility. They also are afraid of admitting they have no control. The truth is step one is freeing. There is something miraculous about saying I don’t know what I am doing someone else show me the way, guide me in my life and in my recovery. Why? Because this means that entire weight of the world and all its people don’t rest on your shoulders. It is good to go back to step one and remember this admission of powerlessness no matter where you are in sobriety because a lot of the times with more clean time we tend to begin to take power back or want control again and we must always remember that we have no control; as it says in step one our unmanageable lives and inability to control our drinking showed us this time and time again.
The principles in step one that need to be continually practiced are humility (realizing that you don’t know everything and are just that newcomer whose life is totally unmanageable when you try to control it), honesty (being honest about the fact that you really don’t have a clue what you are doing), and surrender (giving it up and saying I need help).