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My Path To Recovery: A Journey Through The 12 Steps

May 27, 2008
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over [drugs, alcohol etc] that our lives had become unmanageable

Although an addict fights the first step with all of their might, insisting that they are still in control of their basic decisions, within time they begin to realize that in fact they act and operate in conjunction with their addiction as a central influence in their lives. This was also the case in my recovery. I had been a cocaine and meth addict from high school and although most people knew that my life was out of control, it was in fact my best friend who brought me to my first 12 Step meeting. When I heard Step 1 read aloud and everyone in the room sort of tacitly agree, I burst out and screamed some sort of profanity and then promptly left the room.

It was such uncanny behavior for me. Even though I was clearly an addict, I never became angry at others who challenged me. Usually I gave even my most ardent adversaries a sardonic smile and of course a little chuckle. I still remember an old girlfriend of mine accusing me of cheating on her and of course what did I do?...blue her a kiss. So when I returned home after my outburst I fell into a great depression. There was something bothering me, tearing at my insides. I felt a battle begin to rage inside and from it I found no respite. My cocaine use increased and my weary eyes became more and more sunken during each down. I was threatened with being laid off and the few friends I had left stopped hanging out. The battle raged on. I felt sick and weary; cold and confused and most of all powerless in the face of addiction

I eventually returned to the same group months later, the battle set to engulf me. Step 1 was and still is in my mind a sort of catharsis for me. It was as if I had to render myself powerless to change and I had to give in and to let go to the personality I thought was mine. Most addicts feel the first step is the hardest. I have to agree. The personality of an addict is one where a constant denial of a problem and addiction fuels the ability to keep abusing the particular action or substance. Step One asks the addict to open the door to another view of reality. This is the hardest part of addiction therapy, because an addict develops many defense mechanisms throughout the addiction.

Many months after my first experience with 12 Steps, I realized why I lashed out so violently when I was told that I had lost my self control and free will to drugs. I think that my addictive personality had taken over to the point where my true inner self was locked away. By opening the door just a little, the addictive personality that had overtaken me felt threatened for the first time. It was the truth that hurt and it is ultimately the truth which set me free.
About the Author
Andrew Beckers is a former drug addict who has become a strong advocate for 12 Step programs. Learn more about The 12 Steps.
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