Beginning the steps: Step 1

Today is the first day to the rest of your life. Remember that saying? When you strike out to create a change in your life, each day is the first day to your life. Each day is different, new, and rewarding, regardless of what happens. We take the good and the bad, the hard and the easy; everything contributes to our life.

Break out your book, if you picked one up. If not, you can read the first step of A. A. in the 12×12 online. (There is a plugin required, available at the site). The language of the step really is not important. Your understanding of the concepts of the step is all that matters. I do suggest a dictionary. You are going to need to look up words. And this part will surprise you. We think we know a definition until we read it.

The words to look up in the dictionary:

If
Powerless
Power
Manageability (maybe try a thesaurus for the opposite)
Un (if you find unmanageability, please send me the definition. So far, none has been found.)
The
Life

We begin with step one, which asks you to realize that you are not in control. Step one in short is: you are powerless, and your life is unmanageable. The concept of unmanageability and powerlessness is the important concepts within this step. “I can’t.” Your focus is on the problem, lack of, and fear of, and is the central part of your life. This is your god, divine ruler, and controller of your life.

The time and energy spent worrying over and discussing the problem is the manager. For all types of addicts and alcoholics, it is the time spent seeking ways and the means to obtain the next dose or drink. People who practice self-harming are consumed with hiding and finding ways to keep their behavior a secret. Whatever it is you are living with and seeking to overcome; it consumes your every moment, invading your sleep and interfering with your happiness. Every effort to set it aside fails. The ghost is haunting you, whispering in your ear, and taunting you. Before you know it, you are consumed once again. This is unmanageability.

At the beginning of every new year, resolutions are created. We talk about losing weight, especially the extra pounds put on from the holidays. Food is a great source of celebration and the central focal point for every type of gathering known to man and woman. We eat, drink to excess, and laugh or argue at family gatherings. Resolving to lose the weight, stop drinking, stop smoking, and exercising more are a few of the more common resolutions.

Making a statement about creating change in your life and following through are miles apart. The day comes when it is time to quit or begin a diet. The next thing you know, a mouthful of chocolate cake or a cigarette finds its way to your lips. You realize that you broke your resolve. How can this happen? Swearing to try again, you do, only to find that you have failed, again. Do you give up or try one more time? This is powerlessness.

Acknowledging unmanageability and powerlessness is one of the most difficult acts anyone has ever had to do. This is not even a physical action, yet it is harder than giving up your habits. Ego steps in and says, nah, no way. All the thinking that follows arrives at the same conclusion, you are a failure and weak. Yeah, you need a stronger self-will; that’s all. Anyone can quit, but staying quit, that takes more than a strong self-will. When you acknowledge that your way has increased your discomfort, perhaps increasing the problem, then you are open to create a new belief.

Admitting powerlessness and unmanageability is the key to step one. This key, simple and seemingly insignificant, yet one of the most powerful actions you can take. Write it down now: “I am powerless and my life is unmanageable.” Now, say it out loud. Say it again and one more time.

Note how you feel, what thoughts just flooded your head. Reactions of denial, a sense of emptiness, and a host of other feelings can arise about now. This is normal. Using your journal, write out the sensations in your body, the thoughts, make a note about it all. Read the statement one more time: “I am powerless and my life is unmanageable.”

Jot it down on a 3×5 inch index card. Post it where it matters. Overeating: post it on the refrigerator and cabinets where you store your favorite comfort foods. Read it before you eat. Read after you eat. Smokers? Make it small enough to fit into your cigarette pack cellophane. Post it on the phone, next to your bed, on your mirror and read it before, and after you smoke.

Post this note anywhere that matters to the habit you are seeking to overcome or create. New habits like exercising, not easy to develop. Post the note on your closet door, the back of the front door so you see it when you open the door. Post it where it matters to you. If your company asks questions tell them it is the key to change in your life.

The spiritual principle behind this step: We will know a new freedom.

Are you stuck? Want to discuss the step and how it relates to you? Let’s chat or send me an email. Consults are free.

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