Understanding Powerlessness and Acceptance in Early Recovery

Understanding Powerlessness and Acceptance in Early Recovery

It may seem like admitting powerlessness is giving up, but the exact opposite is true. Powerlessness isn’t meant to lead to hopelessness, but rather to a greater sense of hope and agency in your life. Recognizing this powerlessness over addiction is not the same as saying you have no power to create change in your life. Recovery is a journey that can seem intimidating if you’re just beginning, but in AA, you just have to take it one step at a time.

  • We let this Power do what we are unable to do for ourselves.
  • I was suffering from complex PTSD, overworking, destroying my marriage, and trying to anesthetize myself from the pain by filling myself with whatever I could put into my mouth.
  • We are beginning to believe that we are capable of living in a different way.
  • We’re powerless when our mind is obsessing, so it’s nearly impossible to make the right decision.
  • This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure FHE Health is trusted as a leader in mental health and addiction care.

And the only reason we believe it is still fun is because we are managing our body’s need for drugs and alcohol. Sometimes substance use puts you in the hospital by causing legal problems and the cops take you there for a blood draw or to dry out. Sometimes substance use puts you in the hospital by causing physical problems such as alcohol poisoning or liver damage. And sometimes it puts you in the hospital by causing mental problems such as suicidal ideation. But if it puts you in the hospital, you have a problem–normal people don’t drink themselves into the hospital. Going to the hospital was what finally got my attention–I ended up in the dual diagnosis unit of a state hospital in Richmond, Indiana.

A Simpler Way to Look at The First Step

In my active addiction, alcohol frequently caused more problems than it helped me forget. That’s a warning sign that you may have a problem–if you can’t deal with life without the addiction in question. If you powerless over alcohol must have the addiction to feel normal, beware, you may be powerless over your addiction. MARR Addiction Treatment Centers specialize in treating individuals whose lives have been destroyed by addiction.

  • Understanding powerlessness in sobriety can help you manage your addiction.
  • Unfortunately, many cannot shatter that illusion until they hit rock bottom and are confronted with undeniable proof that everything is not okay.
  • In recovery, we learn that it takes far more strength to surrender and admit powerlessness than it does to try to control addiction by ourselves.
  • The more you know about your treatment, the more control you will feel over your life.

The Serenity Prayer is a central mantra of many recovery communities. It demonstrates the paradox of powerlessness and the role of surrender. We live in a society that tells us we should be able to figure out our problems and overcome challenges on our own; that if we can’t, we’re weak. Being open to trying something new requires a great deal of courage because it’s an admission that you don’t have all the answers. I’ll just have one or maybe two; I can drink just one more day then stop, I’ll just smoke marijuana that’s not that bad, or I’ll only drink on the weekends, etc.

Are You Powerless Over Your Addiction? Here’s How to Know

The use of drugs supplies a feeling of acceptance and temporary self-confidence. An addict substitutes an imaginary world, where he is in complete control, for the real world, where he feels useless and out of control. Repeated use of drugs to gain relief becomes a way of life. Relief is momentary, but in the long-term, drug use becomes an end in itself.

Recognizing powerlessness over an addiction is the first step to freedom. When you recognize you are out of control, you can regain control. But by believing you have a problem, you can begin to overcome it. Susan is no stranger to the fields of behavioral health and addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, working https://ecosoberhouse.com/ in an inpatient setting, an outpatient setting, acute stabilization and nearly all other settings in the realm of addiction recovery. Acknowledging your powerlessness is liberating because it helps you realize the things you are powerless over so you can devote your energy to your actions–the things you can control.


Remember, you are not alone in this battle – there are people who want to help you succeed. Admitting powerlessness requires getting honest with yourself about reality, instead of the “stinkin’ thinkin’” (delusion and denial) that enables your addiction. It involves realizing that your attempts at self-control are not cutting it, and that you need to rely on others to support you in gaining discipline and control. Stigma in society about addictions makes many hesitant to even seek help or admit any kind substance use disorder. However, admitting the truth, seeking help to save your own life is a sign of incredible internal strength. It is a strength that cares for the self as well as one that realizes the harm that is happening all around them.

examples of powerlessness in addiction

I frequently remarked when life got tough, “This is why I drink.” Learn how we can help your family by calling a Treatment Advisor now. Look in the dictionary and write down the definition of Unmanageable.

They can take back their thoughts and actions and no longer be a slave to their addictive behavior. Unmanageability describes how that problem has affected your life. When we become helpless to unmanaged family, work, finances, health, or relationships, we experience a real sense of powerlessness.

As recovery requires honesty, those with an inability to be honest with themselves and others also may be powerless. Fortunately, it is only a small minority who are powerless to ask for help and turn their lives over to the transformative process of recovery. The other difficulty with the term “powerlessness” involves the question of whether we can heal from an addiction entirely on our own, without outside help. It is true that some of us are blessed with the ability to wake up to the pain and destruction we are causing and make a decision to quit when the pain becomes too great.

Relying on 48 years of experience in the treatment industry, MARR identifies each individual’s underlying issues and uses clinically proven techniques to treat them. Feeling powerless makes us believe that there is nothing we can do. We don’t have the power over the obsession to drink, nor do we have the power to control how much we drink once we start. What we can do is turn to a Power greater than ourselves for help. We let this Power do what we are unable to do for ourselves.