We ADMITTED we were POWERLESS over alcohol and that our lives had become UNMANAGEABLE

” We admit that we are powerless over our alcoholism-addiction and that our lives [and minds] have been and are unmanageable.”

Write your own definition of each word in this Step. Look each word up individually in the dictionary.
Write what each part means to you:
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of “admitted”.
Write your own definition of “admitted.”

What is your definition of powerless?
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of “powerless”.
What does it mean to me that I am powerless over food?
How am I powerless over food?
How am I powerless over food when I am in my disease?
How am I powerless over food in my recovery?
Even if I have been abstinent for a significant length of time, over what am I powerless?
What other aspects of my life am I powerless over?
In what ways has my disease been active recently?
How do I behave compulsively?

In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of “addiction”.
Write down all definitions for addiction. (Stated or Implied)
What is the disease of addiction?
Why is being clean not enough?
Write out benefits of accepting your powerlessness over your addiction.

“How is my life unmanageable today?”
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of “unmanageable.”
Write out your definition of “unmanageable.”
How was my life unmanageable in my addiction?
How is my life unmanageable in recovery?
Who managed your life when using and who manages your life in recovery?
What in my life can I truly manage?
Am I addicted to changing my mood? What do I try to change? In what ways am I addicted to looking outside of myself for exterior things to change the way I feel?
Are there situations that I fear will be so painful that I will drink again?
How is my addictive thinking and behavior manifested in my life today? Be specific.
What is it like when I am obsessed with someone or something?
Do I maintain a crisis mentality, reacting to every challenge as a personal insult? How has this affected my life?
Do I insist on having my own way? Do I consider the needs of others? How has this behavior/attitude affected my relationships?

What does sponsorship have to do with the 1st Step?
How do I apply the First Step in my life?
Am I willing to accept the Steps as a way of life?

Write out the benefits of surrendering your life to a 12 step program of recovery.

As we each go about our daily activities, we think about the people, places, and things that are unmanageable, or over which we are powerless.

Each day we write: “I cannot control / have no power over________.”

We also list what we can control and what we do have power over.

Am I aware that, if I have been abstinent from alcohol a while, Step 1 is about my powerlessness over some other behavior or thought-habit that reflects the unmanageability of my life and mind?
Am I aware that I need to find a way to stop that behavior so that my surrender is not blocked by continued acting out?
How does an appalling lack of perspective relate to sanity, honesty, or humility? (5: 5) What do sanity, honesty, and humility mean to me? [Optional: 12&12 pp, 48: 0; 58: 1; 72: 2]

The Program of Action (9: 6)
What is my understanding of the practical program of action? (9: 6)
How did this derive from the non-alcoholic Oxford Groups of that day? ( xvi: 0; and see 263: 0)
What are the essential requirements, as I understand them? (13: 5 – 14: 0)
How do I understand, It meant destruction of self-centeredness? (14: 1)

Do I know that admitting powerlessness does not mean admitting worthlessness?
How may I accept my new freedom in no longer having to lie about my drinking?
How may I stay in touch with the reality of my disease, no matter how long I have been free from drinking?
In what ways today have I begun to be honest in recovery?
Can I tell my sponsor or someone else when I have been thinking about drinking or acting out on my disease in some other way?
How am I practicing open-mindedness, humility, and willingness today?
What are the principles by which the individual alcoholic could live? (xix: 1)
What are the principles by which AA groups and AA as a whole could survive and function? (xix: 1)

The Spiritual Experience
In what ways is my being sober today evidence of having tapped an unsuspected inner resource which I may identify with [my own] conception of a Power greater than [myself]? (567: 4-568: 0)
In what ways had I come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as I had been living it? (25: 1)
Have I felt I had but two alternatives?
• One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation…
• …and the other, to accept spiritual help? (25: 3 )
How does one go about accepting spiritual help? Might one’s spiritual life then include our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs? (20: 0) Can I accept that the concept of “others” includes me?
Am I ready for the self-searching, the leveling of [my] pride and the confession of shortcomings that the process requires? (25: 1) (See also 42:1, 2; 64: 1; 122: 1)
Have I experienced the presence of a higher power? Be specific.

Psychic Change
What is my understanding of a psychic change?

TAKE STEP 1 Take Step 1 in the second paragraph of BB page 30.
…We had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. (30: 2)
This is how the Big Book authors described taking Step 1. If we concede, then according to the Big Book and under the conditions of this day, we take Step 1. As with all of the Steps, we each take Step 1 when we each say so.

Some write a statement such as this:

“I admit I am powerless over ___________________. My life is unmanageable.”
__________________(signature) ______________(date)


  1. The biggest miracle today is that I don’t want to eat. The obsession has been lifted and I know that the solution is in the steps and looking to God in prayer and meditation.


  3. Webster defines unmanageable as the inability to conduct,handle direct, and control affairs.My definition would include chaos. My life when I was in the food was out of control and chaotic. My day was consumed with getting food, eating it and blacking out and not being able to function. I did not take care of my children responsibly. I was unavailable for my husband . I blocked everyone’s needs out and could only see what I needed and craved. I was upset , angry and resentful when I didn’t get what I wanted and when people did not behave the way I expected them to.I responded with anger by screaming and yelling. My family did not know what kind of mood I would be in. My mood were unpredictable. After a long day I would just crawl into bed feeling totally defeated and beaten. I pulled the blanket over my head and slept hoping that tomorrow would be better. But the cycle continued. My life was out of control.It was unmanageable. This went on for many years . There were times during the years when I thought I had control and I gained some manageability. I lost weight. I felt good . Thought I finally arrived. But it was very short-lived. Life situations would kick in and I responded the only way I knew how. That was with eating and bingeing and getting into self-pity and remorse. The if only’s would in. If only I was thin…. If only I had a bigger house…If only my husband would act the way I wanted him to…if only people would listen to me…If only I had more money….if only….
    In program I’ve learned to identify the foods that caused the chaos in my life. I started weighing and measuring my abstinent food, going to meeting, listening to a sponsor, making phone calls reading the literature and little by little my life started to get better. I was taught that food was not an option and no matter what I do not run to food to solve any crisis in my life. I need to develop a relationship with God and to pray to Him to relieve me of the obsession and to show me what His will is for me. I remember early on in recovery, my vacuum broke down while I was using it to prepare my home for the Sabbath. The first thought that came to me was to run to the pantry and stuff may face . That would surely fix the problem. Instead, I prayed to God and asked for His help. That was the first time I used God to relieve me of the obsession to eat. I did not pick up and guess what. I turned my vacuum cleaner on and it worked. In recovery I learned that when life is out of control food will not fix it or make it easier to get through. It will only complicate the situation. I would then have 2 problems. Each day I need to pray to God and ask him what his will is for me and to give me the willingness and the strength to do the next right thing. Today my life is filled with a purpose and productivity. I am available for family and friends. Each day is a day when I need to ask God how can I be of ultimate service to Him and my fellows.

  4. Websters dictionary states that addiction is a compulsive need for habit forming drugs.
    What is a habit forming drug? This could come in the guise of food, alcohol, shopping, gambling,tobacco, sex, narcotics and many other addictive behaviors. I used my disease as a cover-up to deal with my fears, doubts and insecurities. It pushed away real life and I hid in the deep dark pit of addiction.I isolated within myself and was not available to my husband and family. I was not effective at my job. I received comfort and love from the bags and boxes of food. Being free from my compulsive eating has opened up new doors for me. I lost 150 pounds by getting honest with my food and abstaining from the addictive foods that caused me to binge. I am not obsessing about food and I’m able to go thru the challenges of life without the need to eat. I am available to family, and friends and I am productive at my job. In general I am living life without the need to use my choice of drugs. My powerlessness over my disease and my admission to it has brought me to recovery and working the 12 steps. I have a life today and I could be of service today because I know of my powerlessness and Gods power is working in me. I am powerless over food and I could not stop eating until I admitted this and took the actions which brought me to abstinence. I continue to admit my lack of power each day and I allow God to fill me with His power and strength.

  5. Being recovered from the obsession of the mind and the allergy of the body I still have things I am powerless over. Life still happens and I have no control over so many aspects of my life. I cannot control my married children and their lives, my children living at home ,or my husband. I need to constantly remember I am not in charge. I say the 3rd step prayer and I pause to remember God is running the show and I’m not. Every action in my life I am powerless. This winter when I fell on ice and broke my hip and needed a total hip replacement, reminded me just how powerless I am. It was a good reminder for me because my days are very full with program, job, family, social and religious obligations l could feel all powerful. The fall showed me each action I take I need to pause and bring God into my affairs. (Even walking out of my car)
    My disease does not leave me. I have a daily reprieve as long as I maintain a spiritual connection with God and try to see what His will is for me.I do this by praying each day, weighing and eating my abstinent food and working the tools of the program. I need to be of service to people in my life, call the new comer, work with sponsees and try to live with patience, love and tolerance to all.I need to work the program with the same energy that I gave my addiction. These actions keep my compulsive behaviors in check.

  6. Websters definition of admitted is to acknowledge. My definition is the same but I also define it as the inability get out of denial.
    Powerless: the dictionary defines it as being devoid of strength and resources. I define it as having to loose the ability. Loosing the right to make choices. I lost the right. I abused the privledge and reached a bottom. In disease my powerlessness brought me to a place of desperation and willingness to surrender and do whatever I was told to do. I lost my right to make any decisions about the food I eat. I needed to be told what to do each day to get and stay abstinent. I was like a child learning to walk. I needed to be taught and I needed to push out any ideas I had on how to control my food out and listen and be wiling to try something new. In abstinence and in recovery this powerlessness brings me to humility. I need to stay humble and teachable because I don’t know whats best for me. I am still without power over food, people and things but today I know that my powerlessness brings me closer to God who has all power and gives me what I need.

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