The First Step

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up                                                                                 James 4:10
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”                    Step 1 in the 12 Steps of AA


The first step in any journey is the hardest. It is the one that takes so much energy to muster up. In an earlier reflection, I had talked about the universal physics concept that “bodies which are at rest tend to stay at rest”- until a force is applied on them to give the energy to move. It takes a lot of energy to take the first step in dealing with an addiction. It is the recognition that your best efforts got you right here- addicted to something.

Yesterday, I asked my readers to name the addictions in their life. Remember, we all have certain things in our lives which can be defined as addictions. If that addiction is causing your life to somehow become unmanageable, that is, if it is causing problems in work, relationships or health, then it is time to consider doing something about it.

If you did that, you are doing great, and on the way to the first step of recovery- if you want it. Recognizing the addiction is a powerful, major step in dealing with the problem. Indeed, overcoming the denial is possibly the hardest of the steps. However, it is not enough just to own the problem. Then one must begin the difficult journey of deciding if they really want to recover.

I have seen countless times when someone with an addiction tells me that he/she “needs to stop drinking for their wife/husband”. While everyone needs a moment of clarity of the need for a change in their life, the motivation cannot simply be to “get their spouse off their back”. Such motivation leads to resentment, and charges that their spouse is “controlling” or eventually some reason why the recovery effort failed.

One needs to own the fact of addiction, then decide that they cannot do recovery alone- that they need help like having other people and submission to a Higher Power. The concept of “speaking something into existence” is a fascinating mystery. It is not a magical solution, but there is something mysterious and spiritual about the idea. When we name out loud to someone else that we intend to start a certain activity or mission, that mission suddenly becomes real. It was spoken out loud and the concept became alive and real.

Addiction recovery is much like the start of other hard journeys in life. The humility step is the hardest. However, it is the source of power to generate the energy which is needed to start the journey.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the simple steps for healing. The paradox of humility gives us access to your healing power, Amen

One thought on “The First Step

  1. Step 0: acceptance. Accepting the brokenness in your life is the spark that ignites the action.
    Steps 1,2,&3: I can’t, He can, I think I’ll let Him.


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