Step One: We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies, that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step One is an admission of our powerlessness over addictive substances, people around us, and those things we’ve become dependent on to sustain life as we know it. We have acknowledged that where we find ourselves today is not life giving and, if we continue on this path it will cause a further downward spiral in our well-being. Regardless of what we have gained or lost, what we have achieved, or where we have fallen short, we have reached the point where we can no longer cope with life as it is right now.
We admit defeat and turn to God for mercy and grace. God assures us that if we get to know and trust Him, He will rescue us and help us do what we cannot do for ourselves. In fact, Jesus said He came to seek and save people exactly like us, in circumstances just like ours.
Jesus said: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Luke 19:10; Matthew 9:13 NLT)
We are not suffering solely because we’ve misused chemicals or developed destructive habits and co-dependent relationships. We are not suffering because we were created as a second class human being or because we grew up in a less than perfect environment. We are suffering because we believed the lie that we could meet our needs and solve our own problems in our own way. We are suffering because we believed that masking the unbearable pain inside us with a substance, a habit, or a relationship would give us lasting pleasure and make life worth living. We are suffering because we did not believe our need to have an ongoing relationship with God above all else.
In Step One we finally come to the point where we acknowledge we’ve been living under a lie. Our way does not work. We admit we are powerless over our problems, powerless to function in a healthy way in daily routines and responsibilities. Daily life itself has become totally unmanageable.
Jesus, who has been watching and waiting as we stumbled around doing our own thing, again invites each of us to the life He has prepared in advance for us to live. He knows we can’t find our way on our own and that it’s impossible for us to consistently choose to behave in healthy ways no matter how much we think we want to. In His love, God calls us to come close to Him and enter into a new way of living. He will gently teach us what works and give us the strength to put into practice what we have learned.
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
We wonder how God could value us as a person and be willing to give us another chance at life. In our addiction we never asked for nor even desired His guidance. We did not want to consider life on His terms nor learn from Him. Over and over again we chose our own way. In spite of our persistent arrogance and distain for God, He still loves us and cares about us. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours and He invites us to look at our lives from His perspective.
Jesus came to earth to redeem us, to heal us, and to set us free. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19 NLT)
God calls us now to let go of all that is unmanageable in our lives and to turn to Him. When we do, God will work everything together for our ultimate good, including those things in our past that are harsh and cruel: all our confusion – past, present and future; and all fear of the unfamiliar and the unknown.
As we surrender our self-centered way of life for God’s way, we begin an exciting journey with Him. God promises He will never leave or forsake us. He promises to fill us with His Holy Spirit who will teach us what is truth in every area of our life. This same Holy Spirit, the power of God, will sustain us and guide us in all our ways.
In this new life of relying on God, we no longer live powerless. God helps us bring order into our lives and fills us with peace…. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (1 Corinthians 14:33 NLT; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV)
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. How has addiction affected my self-image?
2. What lie did I live under in my addiction that I need to acknowledge and let go of?
3. What coping skills have I used to avoid pain and fix problems that I now need to admit don’t actually work?
4. What has kept me from expressing true feelings and seeking support and comfort?
5. What do I do with failure?
6. What does it mean to me today to say to God, “I can’t do it alone?”
7. How does admitting all this give me hope for the future?
Heavenly Father, I admit defeat. I am powerless to live on my own without you. You know the things I’ve tried and what a disappointment they’ve all turned out to be. My life is truly unmanageable without you. I give up trying to meet my own needs. I give up covering pain and confusion with substances and destructive habits and relationships. Heavenly Father, I turn to You. I accept Your word as the truth around which I will build my life. I accept relationship with you as the new way of life for me. Fill me with Your Spirit who gives me peace, power, and truth. I receive hope to fill my despair. I receive truth to sort out my confusion. I choose for Your will and surrender my own. Amen