Powerlessness Over Addiction: Is There a Way to Overcome It?



How does powerlessness over addiction creep up on an addict? How is it so hard for those in active addiction to admit this? Let’s explore powerlessness and how this is critical to recovery.

Powerlessness in the context of addiction is hard to acknowledge and admit. In the 12-Step Program, this is the first step. And as they say, as with addiction and with anything for that matter, the first step is the hardest step to take.

But was is powerlessness over addiction?

Defining Powerlessness

Powerlessness over addiction means that your life has become so unmanageable that you no longer have any power or control over your own life, body, or mind. You have lost the ability to control your intake of illicit, or mind-altering, substances or engaging in addictive behaviors.

There are people who can safely use substances, as well as alcohol, without getting addicted or going out of control. There are those who experiment with these substances or indulge in certain behavior in social settings or as a way to fit in. From time to time, there are consequences to these, but that usually is it. Walking away from these substances or activities is not an issue. However, there are those who are at a higher risk of developing addiction or dependence. These people have difficulty stopping on their own, and often continue regardless of the consequences.

This is usually how powerlessness develops.

So how do you recognize if you are powerless over your addiction?

There are many signs of addiction that point towards powerlessness. If you have tried to cut back on your addiction but find it hard to do so, that is one. Have you ended up also consuming more that what you initially intend to? Have people around you expressed their own concerns about your actions and choices? Have you ended up in problems brought by your substance use or behavior but still can’t stop? If you answer “yes” to these, then you may be powerless and have a substance use disorder or behavioral addiction.

Admitting Powerlessness is the First Step to Healing

The first step of the 12 Step Program says, ” We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Addiction is a disease that thrives in denial. you may go through all great lengths to convince yourself and make others believe that all is under control. Getting to this first step is the most difficult because as you admit you are powerless over addiction, you are also surrendering yourself to the idea that you can’t do it on your own. You need others to help you. Your life is in such chaos that rebuilding it back takes more than what you can do at the moment.

For some, this first step entails that they surrender their ego and admit their mistakes. They have to articulate their fears, shame, guilt, and all other feelings. To help you get started on your own first step, you may:

  • create a list of consequences of your continued drug or alcohol use or behavioral addiction
  • list down the ways your addiction has made your life unmanageable
  • list down how you feel powerless over your addiction
  • write down how powerlessness feels for you

To be more specific, you may consider these questions:

  • What is the impact of my substance use or behavior to my life?
  • Do I have anyone to blame for my behavior?
  • Is the way I am behaving something I can be proud of?
  • What reservations do I have about my substance use or behavior?
  • How willing am I to get sober?
  • Do I accept the fact that I can’t control myself when I am drinking or using or engaging in destructive/addictive behavior?
  • How will being sober help me?

Reclaim Your Power and Overcome Addiction

Once you have gone the crucial first step, what’s next?

First, you have to understand that you can never really control your drinking or drugging. You will continue to be powerless as long as you keep using or drinking. That’s why sobriety is important. You gain your power back by being sober.

Once you become sober, you will realize that there is life outside of your addiction. That you are no longer slaves of your addiction. You have better control over your own life, pursuing worthwhile goals and doing things that give you fulfillment.

At Bridges of Hope, we offer a comprehensive addiction treatment that not only keeps you away from your addiction. We provide a personalized rehab program that helps you dig deep into the behaviors, attitudes, traumas, and other factors that got you into the situation in the first place.

We understand that individuals who are in active addiction or have been so for so long may not so easily admit their powerlessness. Therefore, if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, give us a call so we can set up an admission.

We offer an unmatched level of quality that makes us a trusted name in private and professional addiction rehab that treats addiction of every type and severity. Talk to us to learn more.

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