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“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable”

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous


This is step one of the twelve steps outlined by Alcoholics Anonymous. AA was the first twelve step group to be created. Today, the twelve steps have been adopted by countless organizations. Every issue can be met with spiritual healing, found through completing the twelve steps. Verbiage changes from group to group, but the core message of each step remains the same.

The Importance of Step One

In the book, the first step is described contextually, “We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery.” (More About Alcoholism, The Big Book). Commonly it is said that the first step is admitting you have a problem. That statement has a lot of merit given the actual language of the book. Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the founders of AA, had to be very careful with the words they chose when writing the twelve steps, and the book. At the time when this book was published, in the 1930’s, there were no rehabs or treatment centers like there are today. Only a few options were available: hospitals and asylums, then called “health farms” and “sanitariums”.

Medical doctors were puzzled by alcoholism and drug addiction. Compulsion to drink or use drugs despite familial, social, and personal consequences was astonishing. Alcoholics could not stop drinking after having the first drink, and they were not able to resist that first drink. An alcoholic might know that his drinking was problematic, but he rarely admitted that the liquor was but a symptom of his real problems. He rarely admitted to much at all, least of all his drinking. Lying, cheating, and stealing became regular parts of an alcoholic’s life- anything to ensure he could drink again. Step one is critically important because it is the beginning of the end for all of the insanity. Step two and the rest of the steps cannot be completed without step one. Surrender is the start of the whole process.

Step one is about surrendering the ego to the truth. The truth is that we are alcoholics, and that our lives have become unmanageable. Until we let go of the facade that this isn’t so, we continue to live in alcoholic denial. Getting to that first step is the most challenging part of recovery. Many people will avoid it for the rest of their lives, just so they wouldn’t have to say that they can’t control their drinking. A smart few are ready and willing to lay down their arms and concede to powerlessness. Little do they know how immensely powerful such an action will prove to be.


Sound Recovery Solutions knows how difficult coming to terms with alcoholism and/or addiction can be. We have experienced first hand the transformational power of taking that first step and know it will change your life. That’s what we’re here to do. Our men’s treatment program is about more than recovery, it’s about living life again. For more information call (561) 666-7427

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