1: We admitted we were powerless over the addict - that our lives
had become unmanageable.
One may be easy to read and easy to agree with, at least on the surface.
We can freely admit to the fact that our lives are in real trouble.
After all that is why we finally came to NarAnon.
may not be so easy to admit we are powerless, or that we cannot control
and manage our own lives. We may say it is not so: "it is the
addict that is out of control - if I could only change him, I could
manage very nicely, thank you."
have tried all kinds of things to show them how wrong they are. It
seemed so obvious to us! "If only he would decide to stop using.
If only I could do just that one right thing to make him stop. But
none of it works; he is so stubborn, blind, uncaring and cruel."
If our lives were unmanageable, it was certainly not for lack of our
trying! We have believed we were the only reason we have managed so
long. After all, we have kept it together alone, all this time.
frustration and anger we feel clouds the issue, but slowly we begin
to see that the parts of our lives that are unmanageable are not ours
to manage. We are indeed powerless over the addict. All the manipulating
and maneuvering has not helped. We cannot control and manage, because
it is not our lives we are trying to manage. We must realize where
our responsibilities end. We do not like it when our well meaning
relatives and friends try to tell us how to live. Neither do our loved
ones (addicts) like us to tell them. This is when we need to remember
the NarAnon reading, "we didn't cause it; we can't control it
and we can't cure it."
other part of Step One begins to become clear. We must let go of the
addict's part. We only prolong their struggle by meddling. We must
stop our crazy compulsive behaviour and let them dance with their
addiction alone. We can stand back, without losing our love and compassion
for them and "Not Do". It's OK, it doesn't cause a dramatic
change, and it didn't change when we "Did" either. Some
of our craziness leaves and we realize we feel a little better. All
it took was inaction.
we feel resistance. The idea remains that perhaps we can "help"
our addicts. We have not completely surrendered to the idea that we
cannot stop their behaviour, but the prize looms there in front of
us. If only we could let go of that nagging voice to "do"
that one little thing that will finally make the difference.
have found the need for Step Two, and we can and do come back to Step
One. It is a step that we may never put aside as completed. It is
a tool to be used again and again.
a little exercise with Step One. Substitute the name of your addict
for the word addict and then read it through again in the first person.
Then put another name in its place, and another, all belonging to
people you have tried to change because you knew how they
needed to change. Over and over say the lines.