After many years of denial, recovery can begin with one simple admission of being powerless over alcohol — for alcoholics and their friends and family.
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
We can become addicted to almost anything. Some things that we jokingly call addictions are usually just habits, like our morning coffee or counting the number of cars we pass each day on our way to work. It only becomes “addictive” and disruptive if we become consumed with passing a specific number of cars each day and cannot bear to enter our workplace until this has occurred. Generally, the disruptions to our daily lives happen slowly, insidiously, over a period of time. For an alcoholic it may first start as the occasional Monday morning hangover that escalates to weekly, and then more often, then daily, until finally they find they simply cannot get out of bed in the morning. Families and co-workers begin to notice that the drinkers clothing looks slept in , personal hygiene starts to slip, the alcoholic is unshaved, disheveled, in need of a haircut.Skin appears dry and crinkly, as if in need of moisture, both inside and out. Next the grass in their yard will be just a little too tall, their vehicles will smell suspiciously of beer or whatever their drink of choice. Tasks and projects at work will start to fall behind, they show up late for family events, or maybe not at all. The drinker will make excuses, “little white lies” to cover their negligence; lies that are easily seen through and that start to wash thin with fellow co-workers, spouses and family. And while the drinker will start to despise themselves for the neglect and the lies, the craving for the next drink will be even greater, so the drinker tries to delude themselves into blaming others for their own shortcomings. Things are never their fault; people are always out to get them, to make them look bad.
These lies and delusions become so ingrained that this step can seem insurmountable – finding this honesty, speaking this admittance of weakness, which must be the first step before any recovery can occur, can seem to be so far beyond their grasp that only with great effort and great sacrifice can it be reached.
The alcoholic has blamed others, or circumstances in their lives for their addiction for so long that admitting the lies usually only occurs when they have truly hit bottom.