Step 1 We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Whether powerless over alcohol, other people, food or any other addiction, we can choose to face reality, to admit it when life becomes unmanageable.
For years, I resisted asking Why is my life was unmanageable? Instead, I focused on me. I thought I could change me, control me. If there was anything wrong beyond my control then I couldn’t fix it, so I asked the wrong question.
During my entire life I asked, What’s wrong with me? I asked myself, I asked other people, I even asked God. I had tried counselors, therapy groups, Bible studies, pastoral counseling, self-help books galore and yes, even prayer—for years. I could never quite solve the problem of me. The same old feelings persisted: anger, depression and anxiety.
The answer to why my life was unmanageable was complex, but the for first 35 years, I was in relationships that were detrimental to me. I was Jill and I kept finding Jacks. That’s why I know the triangle of conversations so well. I mastered the percussion of persecution.
When I finally quit asking the wrong question, I finally started getting the right answer. First, I had to exchange the question What’s wrong with me? for What’s wrong with this relationship? I had found plenty wrong with me and continually kept trying to fix myself, but until I got out of the dysfunctional relationships, I couldn’t really heal or really change anything.
I have a friend in AA that initially offended me by saying, I’m never sure if there are really more victims or more volunteers. I know why that bothered me now. I had been volunteering to be the victim in more than one relationship. Granted, I didn’t know that. I couldn’t see it, but I did choose over time to get out of those dysfunctional and damaging situations. But just getting out didn’t fix my life.
In the back of my mind, I’d keep hearing, My life doesn’t make sense. I got more and more miserable. As the saying goes, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Why is it so hard to admit it when we’re just too worn out to perform any longer? Show Time is my favorite allegory on that. I was almost ready to ask a second question.
The obvious precursor was that I had to admit complete defeat before I would ask the second question. What’s wrong with my life? Why doesn’t my life make sense? For me, the answer is here:
Step 2 Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Although I believed in God, I didn’t know how to let Him restore me to sanity. My life was insane. Why didn’t my life make sense? What’s wrong with this picture? I was insanely drinking, insanely thinking and insanely relating!
Only God could restore me to sanity. The program of AA would show me how.