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Step 1 _Journey Begins

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Each year I like to run through the 12 steps as written in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. These steps were an adaptation of many works before them, and are a universal truth for all people who want to enjoy good mental Hygiene and an abundant life. They have been adopted by some 150 self-help groups, and in the words of my favourite forensic psychologist, are the best basis for mental health around IF worked and lived.


I am not a step guru, and like to keep things as simple as possible.


We admitted we were powerless over (alcohol, drugs, life, people, ourselves; anything that fits)-that our lives had become unmanageable.


The use of the word WE is important to note. WE were a group of people who founded AA, and WE today are a group in the millions who have worked the steps and practice them on a regular basis.


From experience, this is the only step a person must get right. Unless you surrender completely to the thing you are powerless over, you will not get the benefit of the steps.


In my own case, the use of mood altering substances and actions had taken me to a place as low as I wanted to go in life. While on a material level things were OK, I had lost myself and any semblance of self-esteem, had lost the respect and trust of those I was closest to, had lost any relationship with anything spiritual and was simply sick and tired of being sick and tired. I did not have abundance in my life, joy was gone, serenity never came and there was seemingly no hope.


I had accidents while under the influence, lied frequently, betrayed my partner, banged and bruised myself while under the influence, put myself and others at risk and was not giving my best to my employers and clients. Life was unmanageable and not happy.


When I drank, used or took part in some activities, simply put, I could never be sure what the outcome would be.


I read the steps for the first time and could run through them on the surface and say yes, I understand that. I did not comprehend what they meant. While I wanted a better life, my journey was started as an attempt to please others and keep them off my back; to stop losing things (like a marriage and my kids) that were important to me.


The first while was a struggle. While I could say I was an alcoholic and other things, I did not take ownership of my sickness for a period, they were just words I said because I thought they might be true, and they please others.


Over a three month period, I saw what WE had and how several of the WE lived. I wanted what THEY had for me with all my heart, got honest and went to great lengths to get it. A LIFE Journey began and continues through this day.


How did I know when Step 1 was complete and I was ready to move on to Step 2??


There came a time where I could look myself in the eye in a mirror, use my addictions in context with myself (As in I'm Keith and I'm an alcoholic) and could accept it as readily as accepting that I have blue eyes. I quit fighting it, surrendered and accepted.


This allowed me to move forward. I began to be honest with me. No longer did I have to hide.


In treatment, I learned that my addictions were a recognised disease. All those years of thinking I had the power to control my substance intake on my own and lacked will power gradually went away, and I listened intently going forward to what I had to do to keep my disease in remission on a daily basis.


I learned to love the words of Popeye the Sailor, I am what I am and that's all that I am.


Step 1 was complete. The mirror told me so.


-- KeithB

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