A common approach in addiction recovery is following a 12-step program. By progressing through each step and making necessary changes, you can overcome the challenges of addiction and maintain a substance-free lifestyle. Before you can truly embrace recovery, however, you must take that first step.

According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the foundation for the 12-step program, the first step is “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

What makes this step so important?

Many people struggling with addiction are in denial. They refuse to see the negative impact that their drinking has had on their lives and the lives of others. Some hold fast to the belief that they are still in control and can stop drinking whenever they want. But the reality is that willpower becomes non-existent in the life of someone with alcoholism. The alcohol has rewired their brain to the point that even if they wanted to stop, they’re unable to on their own.

Admitting that you are powerless and need help is essential to entering an addiction treatment program. If you are still in the mindset that you can do it on your own or that you don’t really have a problem, it makes it much more difficult to accept help and really believe in what you are doing. You can go through the motions, but you won’t gain as much benefit from it because your mind is not open to making connections and changes within your own life. You’re less likely to follow through with relapse prevention plans after treatment because there is still a feeling of doubt in your mind that you had a problem with alcoholism to begin with.

Once you admit that you have hit rock bottom – whatever that means for you – the only way to go is up. This is when you can enter into a recovery program and start turning your life around.

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