- Step One – the most often misquoted Step of the 12 Steps!

Step One – the most often misquoted Step of the 12 Steps!




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Step One – the most often misquoted Step of the 12 Steps!

Postby Dallas » Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:11 am

Step One – the most often misquoted Step of the 12 Steps!

Funny how things are.

We sit around in meetings emphasizing the importance of a complete and perfect First Step – and it’s Step One – that is one of the most misquoted Steps of the 12 Steps.

The word “andâ€
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Postby DebbieV » Sun Aug 05, 2007 7:20 pm

I can not beleive I always put an 'and' in step one, either out loud or in my head. Let me say it this way ' I use to put an "and" in step one, and I will make sure not to ever again, either in my head or out loud. May have to jump my sponsors butt for not pointing that out to me. :D :D :D

Thank you Dallas, I have said it, heard it, and will say it again. We alcoholic make things way too complicated. :oops:

I would call that anothe 'well I'll be damned' moment.
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Postby garden variety » Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:52 am

Well you know another thing in the exact words of that step that gets missed is "that our lives had become unmanageable".

I don't know if I can say this right, but I'll try. It seems that because of the way its worded with "had" being a past tense and "become" being present tense - that if I take the step the right way, things change even at the first step. My life "had become" unmanageable up until I took the first step, then it changed directions. But because I "conceded to my innermost self" if I take this step perfectly, then the unmanageability starts to go away because I start changing. Now I begin to care if my electric bill is late for example.

But I can't stop there because the 12 steps teach me how to manage my sobriety. There's that story in the book, I think its the last one that reminded me of you Dallas. My life will stay unmanageable until I "launch into action" with the steps. That's the difference between a "heavy drinker" and alcoholics like us. A "heavy drinker" stops drinking, his problems go away. An alcoholic stops drinking, his problems begin. I found out the definition of the term "stark raving sober" when I slowed down on actions and the steps.

I need this "design for living that really works" because I don't have one of my own. I know this program has a chance to work because it wasn't my idea - if it was my idea we'd all be in deep doo-doo. But the thing is, until I begin using a "working design" for living which is the 12 steps, whatever "design" I'm living by will not work. Which means my life will get more unmanageable. Then that's when I can say for sure "AND" my life becomes unmanageable even when I'm sober.

The other thing the books says "We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves." The only way I can find that power is through the first eleven steps which results in the spiritual awakening in step 12. That means that I now understand how to live my life keeping it in the framework of "spiritual principles" or "moral psychology". That's what was missing when I drank, and it stays missing when I stop drinking until I work the 12 steps to the best of my ability with no half measures. That's all a part of admitting "that our lives had become unmanageable."

I have to admit that living without God was just as big of a problem as being addicted to alcohol. That's why they drilled it into my head at first that "willingness" is the key to the first step. Unless I'm willing, then I can't be powerless. As long as I'm unwilling to accept that I can't quit drinking on my own, or as long as I'm unwilling to accept that I need a Higher Power, then I am still holding onto the power to run my own life into the ground. If I still have the power, then I'm not powerless. If I'm not powerless, then I can never do a perfect first step. And I strongly believe that if anyone goes back out and drinks, the problem is there in the first step and unwillingness to "concede".
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Postby DebbieV » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:06 am

My life will stay unmanageable until I "launch into action" with the steps.

I found out the definition of the term "stark raving sober" when I slowed down on actions and the steps.

I have to admit that living without God was just as big of a problem as being addicted to alcohol. That's why they drilled it into my head at first that "willingness" is the key to the first step. Unless I'm willing, then I can't be powerless. As long as I'm unwilling to accept that I can't quit drinking on my own, or as long as I'm unwilling to accept that I need a Higher Power, then I am still holding onto the power to run my own life into the ground. If I still have the power, then I'm not powerless. If I'm not powerless, then I can never do a perfect first step. And I strongly believe that if anyone goes back out and drinks, the problem is there in the first step and unwillingness to "concede".


Thanks Paul, this alcoholic needs to hear that alot right now. I like the "Stark raving sober" part, its still seems odd that I can hear things 20 times and not hear hear them until I'm ready, or until I am in enough pain. I still love to hear people talk about being powerless, even though I look at it in a bigger way than I did 2 months ago, I am powerless over alot more than alcohol. It seems the more I understand that the more I let the power be where it needs to be, with my HP, not me.

Thanks for sharing,
Deb
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STEP 1

Postby musicmode » Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:43 pm

STEP 1 - We admitted we were powerless over alcohol --- that our lives had become unmanageable.

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic.

I have heard the AND, and quite likely have said it too...you hear something often enough, one begins to repeat it without really being aware. This, has confused me. I have been told, and I have heard...that Step 1 is a 2-part step...which...confused me :? I even heard one time, where there were a small group of people (2 or 3?) were discussing another alcoholic, who was absent from this particular discussion. What they were saying was: we know that he's come to grips in accepting that he's an alcoholic, but he's never quite grasped the concept of unmanageability--he's got the "1st part" of step 1, but not the "2nd part". This struck an off chord with me because...well...I don't know, it confused me. I'd heard it before around the tables, and by well meaning sponsors, and there was "something" I wasn't getting. I'd read it, then I'd listen...and somehow, the translation (with me) was getting lost in the transmission, though I didn't know how, or know enough to even ask.

For me, I wonder if it's as simple as our my introduction: My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic.

Admit...to myself...sounding it down...and maybe (at first) not liking very much that this was ringing truth within me--whether I liked it or not. Am I willing to admit that I am powerless over alcohol---that my life had become unmanageable. When I "looked back" at the wake of destruction; when I looked in the mirror at all of those lovely shades of jaundice and gang-green; when there was no other way to slice the facts into excuses, cuz I'd run out of them, and I'd run out of energy to hold up all of those excuses...it became as obvious to me as the sunrise itself--I understood...I am powerless over alcohol, if I know nothing else about myself--that much I know...and that was enough at first. I was willing to admit it, and it was a relief to do so. ---that my life had become unmanageable? There was/is no contest there, either. It was the unmanageability that I could no longer deal with, I'd painted myself into a corner...and deep down--I knew. I knew what the problem really was. It was alcohol, and I couldn't leave it alone.

What I've had to learn to accept, was...that no matter what happens in a day, good or bad...the ONLY thing I really, really want--is a drink. I don't take action on that thought, and now it's been long enough where I don't want to lose everything that I have gained as a result of sobriety. I don't desire to drink, what's been removed is the ability to pick it up--and...the ONLY thing keeping me from doing that is God as I understand Him. No human power could relieve me, no human power can relieve me. I've tried for years to "just never touch it again." All the wishing it away, and my own will power could not keep me from drinking. My sobriety (to me/for me), is precious and sacred, I cherish it, and I am willing to go to any lengths to keep it. Do I get it right and perfect? Nooo :oops: . But, I want to be sober wa-aay more than I want that drink. But, to be perfectly and completely honest with myself...the thing I want the most, everyday--no matter what, is a drink. Because of that, the willingness I have--to hand my will and life over, and stay in close conscious contact with God as I understand Him, is paramount, because He is the only thing keeping me from actually grasping that drink--literally. I can say that, I have reached for it, and my hand is literally moved away...I could not have a drink even if I wanted to. That kind of strength does not come from me, or from within...it comes from--FIRST--admitting that I am powerless over alcohol--- (remembering)--that my life had become unmanageable...and remembering...my last drunk. :wink: .

Keep it simple,
Anne
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Postby HollyR » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:10 am

step 1- we admitted we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable.-

powerless- by definition "without power"

i have absolutly zero power over alcohol.

the unmanagibility. everything in my world seems to relvolve around "the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more..we lived to use and used to live"
taht is a quote from another 12 step program.

but.. i love the way it works with me and my alcoholism. my life literally relvoved around alochol. and what my boss and mentor would say

"NORMAL PEOPLE DONT DO THAT"

so here is my senerio*question on spelling*

i would go out and have a glass of wine with a nonalcoholic friend.
about 5-10 min. later my glass was gone and was ordering another.
she on the other hand had only finished a couple sips. the fact that i even noticed the fact that i had drinken more than her and was worried about her reaction to me ordering another.."NORMAL PEOPLE DONT CARE"

humm i dunno that is just me n something i went threw..i dont really know if anyone else went through anything similar.
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Postby anniemac » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:33 pm

I've never noticed if people say "and" instead of the pause (dash) -- I'll keep my ears opened for that.

What I do notice, is during the Preamble, that folks say "..that they may solve their common problems..." (plural), The only common problem (singular) that we have is alcoholism.

In my opinion, the pluralization of "problem" lends to the "group therapy" mindset within AA meetings - that we're there as a self-help support group to discuss our problems. When the preamble is read as written it's clear that we are there to discuss our alcoholism.
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Postby leejosepho » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:37 pm

------------
Greetings to all ... and where better to make one’s first post than at Step One, eh?! And, please know I am not being contentious or argumentative here - I simply share what I have learned through the study of our book and my practice of the common-to-all experience so freely given in it. My sobriety date is 10/22/82, and I have been a student of our book for a year more than that.
------------

Step One is certainly *not* a two-part Step, yet there nevertheless *are* two interrelated, complete-sentence thoughts within it:

"We were powerless over alcohol - our lives had become unmanageable."

To begin here, we can read this from the Foreword to "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", a book that "proposes to broaden and deepen the understanding of the Twelve Steps as first written in the earlier work" (also in Foreword):

Our Basic Text "finally reached the public in April, 1939," and in it "the spiritual ideas of [our] society were *codified* for the first time in the Twelve Steps, and the application of these steps to the alcoholic's dilemma was made clear."

"Spiritual ideas ... codified ... in the Twelve Steps."

===
Codified: Reduced to a code. (Merriam-Webster)
===

So, what do we have in front of us when we open our Basic Text?

1) Spiritual ideas codified in the Twelve Steps (page 59) in a way never before seen by many of the first 100;
2) Application of those codifications elsewhere made clear (in the remaining text).

Summarizing everything so far:

The Twelve Steps, including Step One as we can quote it, need to be decoded if we are to "clearly see the application of the spiritual ideas of our society to the alcoholic's dilemma", and we can do that by seeing details in the remaining content of our book. After all, we do not take any other Step "off-the-wall", do we?!

Here again is the Step One codification we can all so readily quote:

"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."

===
Decode: to convert into intelligible form; to recognize and interpret;
decipher; to discover the underlying meaning. (Merriam-Webster)
===

And now, let us begin to "decode" Step One by looking elsewhere in our book:

"(a) We were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives." (page 60)

And now looking for more detail:

"We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed." (page 30)

"We could wish ... we could wish ... we could will ... but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources ... failed utterly.
"Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live ..." (page 45)

And let us now re-combine all of the above into a paraphrased version of the codified format of Step One as we all well know it:

"We learned we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics - that we had to find a power by which we could live."

(begin edit)

There is still more to be considered here, Dallas, but for now here is how I would make my own paraphrase of Step One:

"I admitted powerlessness over staying sober - I cannot manage my own life sufficiently to empower me to leave alcohol entirely alone."

Or more inclusively: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - we could not manage our lives in ways that would empower us to leave alcohol entirely alone."

And to help defend the thought of Step One not having two parts:

"... our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol." (page 103)
Last edited by leejosepho on Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby ROBERT » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:49 pm

when I was ready to quit, REALLY ready,(I conceded) hyphen, no hyphen, yada-yada I wasn't looking for ways to complicate things ANY MORE--thank you very much :wink:
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Postby Dallas » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:09 am

I recognize some of those words in the quote attributed to me... it's got my name on it... but, I don't recognize the words with the little brackets around them... and using the words empowered...

Did I write that somewhere???

If not... it's best not to use the "Quotes" feature... and "add to it."

The quotes feature is to precisely quote what another person wrote... without adding to it inside the quote... Or else, it's coded quote hijacking! :lol:

We've had that happen here on the forum where one member will attribute a quote to something someone wrote... and then they add their words inside it... so the quote should not be:

Dallas wrote...

but... "the new poster is writting"......

Welcome to the forum... but, not quote me and then mess with the quote by adding to it or taking away from it... and then, put my name on it! :wink:

Dallas
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