The 12 Step Program: Step One

You’ve taken the first step in changing the rest of your life when you decide to begin the 12-step recovery program. Step one, which may seem like the hardest, is the most important foundation to begin your recovery journey with Baystate Recovery Center.

Step one states that, “we admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is your introduction to intentional recovery. Admitting loss of control is essential to gaining back full control of your life in its entirety.

What does step one accomplish?

Step one, admittance, is the foundation you are setting for your recovery plan. During this step you agree to join the 12-step program and admit, to yourself and others, that you have lost control over your drug or alcohol addiction and need help managing your life. Substances, such as drugs and alcohol, cloud our choices and steal our willpower.

Admitting that you have lost control allows you to take your power back. It is a step that shows your addiction you’ve had “enough!”. You are admitting that you lost control just as much as you are telling yourself, and others, that you want your control back. Essentially, step one accomplishes the relinquishment of the holds of addiction on your life. Admittance breaks the addiction cycle.

What is the addiction cycle?

Understanding this cycle is essential to remove yourself from it. The cycle begins with pain, followed by use of an addictive method (drugs, alcohol), temporary numbness from substance use, negative consequences, which, in turn, leads to guilt, low self-esteem and pain. In order to break this cycle, we must admit that it has control over our current coping skills and overall life. Admitting that our addiction comes from a direct link to our powerlessness allows us to break the cycle and gain back full control.

What is the goal of step one? 

During step one we are moving our lives from powerless to prevention mode. Through this step we realize that we’ve been practicing unhealthy coping habits to deal with pain and suffering. We remove ourselves from the constant crisis mode of the addiction cycle to preventative healing.

How long does step one take?

There is no set timeline on this step. Generally, step one is the personal decision to enter a rehabilitation program to gain back control of your life. The simple, yet powerful, act of recognizing you have a problem and need to solve it is the general basis of step one. Program length differs based on the addiction and center you choose. Denial plays a huge role in addiction, playing on shame and guilt, which may also add into the time it takes to get to full admittance of loss of personal power.

If you had to describe step one in one word what would it be?

Honesty. Step one is about being raw and honest with your current life standing to yourself and others. It is sharing the extent of your addiction openly, questioning your motives and your current state of self-care. During this step you are starting a self-discovery journey that unpacks layers of emotion to get to the root of your addiction.