At Renaissance Ranch, we’re going to examine each of the 12-steps, and examine both how it can help the lives of an addict, and how LDS principles can be directly applied to these steps.
As the saying goes, “Admitting that you have a problem is the first step.” This is true of the first of the Alcoholics Anonymous conceived 12-Steps to Recovery. It actually reads, “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction- that our lives had become unmanageable.” Admitting to yourself that you have lost control of your life and habits is the first step when beginning rehabilitation for addiction.
Becoming Powerless Over Addiction
When your addiction has reached a point where your will power is basically non-existent, you have become powerless over addiction. This powerlessness will cause you to abuse a substance even in the face of damage being caused to your life. You may have trouble with relationships, decreased productivity at work, and a lack of interest in the things you use to love, but you still continue to use drugs or alcohol. Even though you recognize that your addiction is causing you pain and humiliation, you still continue to give into it because you can’t help it- you have become powerless.
An Unmanageable Life
Having an unmanageable life means that you have not only lost control over your substance abuse, you have lost control in other areas of your life as well. You may cross the line where you had previously set boundaries for yourself, either socially, morally, or in other ways. You may engage in behaviors that you are ashamed of, and promise yourself that you will never do them again, only to find yourself returning to these behaviors the next time you are drinking or using drugs. In an unmanageable life, you are unable to make decisions and stick to them, just as you are unable to behave in the way that you know to be correct.
Taking the First Step
Addiction manifests itself in a cycle of behavior that is difficult to break. First, an addict feels pain, whether it be emotional or physical. This leads them to self-medicate by abusing a substance, which brings temporary relief from pain. Negative consequences are brought about because of their behavior while under the influence of this substance. They feel badly when they realize what they’ve done, which brings them to a low point of shame and guilt. These painful feelings cause them to seek relief, by reengaging in, and often escalating their substance abuse.
In order to begin to regain control of your life, you must first recognize that you have lost control in the first place. This will provide you with the motivation for change. The cycle of addiction can’t be broken by relying on our own willpower. You must recognize that you are powerless to exercise willpower, that your life has become unmanageable if you hope to turn away from the cycle of abuse and start your recovery.