Step One is essentially saying, “I do not want to die. I give up. I surrender.” This reality did hit me hard, but it hit me equally every time I “chose” (I believe addiction is a choice, at first) to use. The difference between being fed up with the drug and being fed up with life as a result of the drug, are two different stories – entirely and completely. There comes a time, as an addict, if you haven’t already, when you hit rock bottom. There is nowhere else to go but up, or 6 feet down. When THAT realization kicked in, it hit hard, and that is when I realized I have not only screwed up my own life somewhat beyond repair (not entirely), but I had also began to mess up the lives of the people whom love me unconditionally – and when you lose THAT – it is worse, as an addict, to come to terms with, than the fact that your own life is in complete shambles. When you begin to take responsibility and fess up and decide NEVER to return that lifestyle is when you will finally begin your path to recovery, and that paves the road to what they like to call “BEING A MAN.” To me, THAT is the definition in itself. Admitting responsibility and doing something about it. There is nothing more concrete and solid of a character trait than modesty and self awareness that you may not be the best person, or even, a good person at all. So Be It! When you can overcome that and start to put the puzzle pieces of your life back is when you can begin to call yourself a man. “The remaining Steps are the solution because they show us how to live – that’s why they’re often referred to as a design for living. By living the Steps, you’ll discover what masculine power really is.”
In order for Step One to begin we must let go of our beliefs and stubbornness and for once in our lives (for most of us) “We must let others get close to us and help us.” When it all boils down the end result is that “We can never fully escape our feelings of loneliness. Take away the drugs, and we find ourselves struggling to connect with others.” That has been my first big step, is trying to find my way, and as the days keep coming and going and the time keeps ticking, I’m seeing that this will come naturally in time, away from the struggle and the drugs and the streets, as you enter what they call “The Real World.” This is your first adventure. It is tough, but it is fun. It is challenging, but you must push yourself. You will want to give up, but you can’t anymore. It is NO LONGER an OPTION.
“Step One also addresses the idea of unmanageability. Unmanageability means that because of the destructive impact of alcohol and other drugs you are not doing the best job of running your life. Do you believe that you are the one who should be guiding your life?” Yes, I myself personally agree with that 100%. I was not guiding my life. I was guided by others who could guide me to the drugs, and I would listen, as long as the in-coherency of drug use clouding my perspective enough to “cope” was an end result.
“Life is manageable so long as you recognize its unmanageability.” and “The only requirement for AA membership is: The desire to be human.” These two passages in the First Step are what helped me come to terms with it all, and they were quotes that I could relate to… and, I think, Quotes we all can related to, addicts or not. We as people have to weed out the situations and complications in life that we have no control over. If we can put those aside and take them for face value, accept them, and manage them, we will be fine. When you try to change what cannot be changed is when the frustration kicks in and the drug use overrides your common sense. You have to be able to control and manage what is in your grasp and control. From whom you associate with (you are who you hang with) to what you do (The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results). This is where the Serenity Prayer Comes into play. Religious or not, it is not only a prayer, but a guideline for life we must recognize and follow or we set ourselves up for failure. When you hear AA what do you think about? I think about alcohol and the Serenity Prayer. And the reason the Serenity Prayer is so important in AA is because it is the number one thing we must remember when it comes to any situation in life.
“When Talking about Step One, I said that at the end of the day your sobriety comes down to life and death: do you want to live, or do you want to die? Men are raised to fantasize about our self-destruction – to burn out rather than fade away; to laugh in the face of death. Well, staring death in the face is not nearly as romantic as the movies make it seem. At some point, I just knew I wanted to stay alive… that’s what the First Step is – do you want to live or not? Like other chronic diseases such as diabetes, addiction requires constant maintenance and attention. You are never cured! Eventually, though, taking care of yourself becomes a natural part of your life. Monitoring your stress level, the biggest trigger for any addict, becomes the essential practice of your life. We don’t know much about how to stay sober, let alone how to live, but our minds are open and the pain is raw! ‘I am a flawed human being,’ he said. West laughs when he remembers how humbling it feels to notice fear, judgment, or any of the other bedevilment’s that still arise in him on a daily basis at twenty years sober: ‘The danger is thinking that I am somehow normal or cured. Things do not go well for me when I think that way, and it has taken me twenty years to learn this. I am freer in all of my relationships.’ If you forget that you are always a newcomer because you will always have more to learn, then you won’t be able to learn what Step One can teach you. ‘Everything that kept me sober is what keeps me sober today.’ The surrender of Step One is the foundation of recovery – and of life. Hence, you are always a newcomer because life is always new. You come to each moment new, and you have no answers. That is Step One. That is freedom.”
“I’m mindful of privilege. If I don’t address my power and privilege issues, I run the risk of discounting other people’s experiences.” “Would I have been caught watching that show back when I was drinking? Even if I liked it, I doubt it.” “Notice your language – do not use “chick,” “bitch,” and “girl” or other belittling words when speaking about women.”
Most of the First Step talks about morals and conduct but only towards the opposite sex or “gay” people. It should not (in this book) nor anywhere in addiction recovery, discuss issues irrelevant to the issue at hand; being drugs and alcohol. How you react on these drugs and how much control they have over you is why you are in the situation you are in, or maybe, even why you are reading this at all: Because you cannot control yourself when it comes to drugs and alcohol. That simple. Moral’s and Manner’s are far from an addict’s mind because the focus and meaning to their life lies in getting their next fix no matter what the cost However, not all of us throw our morals out the window just because we ‘need’ a fix. I, on the contrary, have never stole for my habit and that is a moral issue, not an addiction issue, and I feel most of the comments made in step one about how to deal with certain “situations” and “male” vs. “female” problems should only be addressed if necessary. Otherwise, it’s pointless in someone’s recovery. Not everyone has bad morals.
I have found in only a few months of sobriety that my interests are coming back. “You are responsible for looking at how these issues affect your life and the lives of those you love. Remember that you are not alone. If you ask, help is available.” I take that statement in Step One as if “I screwed up pretty much, if not, all relationships in the past – and now I need to step up and make amends and fess up for what I have done. Consequences or not. That is Being a Man. That is being a person with good morals. That is a person on the right path to getting sober. You will know, in time, if you stay away from the wrong crew (you are who you hang with) and you stay away from the crap (You are what you do), I promise you, you will find your interest in life and find a hobby, friends, a job, and the little things in life that mean so much to us that we take for granted while under the influence will return. Never take life for granted because every second is a gift, that is why it is called the Present. Live it right and you will not have to worry about your future, as your karma will be good. What goes around comes around. As I’ve said not too long ago in the clinic: “Be Conscious of what you Think, it determines Your Words, Be careful what you Say, it determines your actions, Be careful what you do, because it determines your character. Your Character is all you got! What you Think Determines Your Decisions, Your Actions Determine Your Fate. Your Fate Determines Your Destiny. Your Destiny Determines Everything. Take 20 minutes and re-read this whenever you think about using. Just remember, What goes up, must come down. Easy Come, Easy GO.. Live Stable, with confidence, and have pride in yourself that you are doing exactly what you should be, in this current moment.