I just counted out the weeks of summer ahead and there are 12 weeks before Labor Day is upon us. Let's not think about that yet!
I have had it in the back of my head to do some sort of series for the summer. When I counted out 12 weeks I thought to myself, “Confirmation!” The twelve steps of AA have been on my mind lately, mainly because someone told me that I wouldn't stay sober if I didn't “do the steps.” I believe that some people do have to take the twelve step road, many actually. It does work, the meetings work, being among others with the same problem works, but maybe not for everyone.
I do keep the steps nearby and read through them often. They remind me of the fact that this addiction is always lurking nearby and I need to stay ahead of it at all times. Now, before you run away for the summer because you don't have a drinking problem, stay with me here!
First of all, the twelve steps can apply to so many things, not just alcohol. Also, many of you are reading this because you have someone in your life who is struggling with addiction, so that's where the twelve steps come in for you.
Al-Anon practices the same twelve steps that AA does. Al-Anon is a group who meets with the same agenda as an AA meeting, but it is for friends and family of the addict. Again, not for everyone but helpful to many. So maybe you will find something here for you after all, or someone else in your life.
The first step: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
The first time I heard that, which was at my first AA meeting, I was like, huh? The word powerless stood out right along with unmanageable. I don't think so! This did not describe me! I was in control! I was not powerless! I had managed my life just fine and was perfectly capable of continuing. So… what the heck was I doing in an AA meeting??? Point made. Right?
If I hadn't been such a hothead, I might have started the road to sobriety right there. Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda. I had to try things my own way, in my own power first because that’s the way I had been doing life this whole time. I do know that in the last few years of my drinking, I was powerless over alcohol. Otherwise there is no way I would've kept drinking. I was jeopardizing so many important things in my life but yet, I let alcohol win every time.
What was the shift? Ah yes, another AA saying, “Let go and let God.” The last day of my drinking I pleaded with God to save me from myself and this mess I was in. I said I give up and I cannot do this on my own, in my own will, and in my own power. Only God had the power and I had to surrender my drinking AND my pride. I had to surrender and admit that I was powerless over alcohol. Along with that my life had become unmanageable. That was my last of many (and I mean MANY) day ones.
For you spouses, children, and friends of the addict this step is for you too. You ARE powerless over this. You do not have control over their drug of choice and that is making your life unmanageable as well. You do have the power though to give it up to God every single day. Trust that God’s got this and the only thing you can do for your loved one, at this point, is to pray. Pray for them to quit, but also that you would be given the knowledge to help them and not enable them. You need to stay close to God in this. Ask him to give you guidance in this journey you had no desire to be on.
Let's say you have no addiction, no family or friend in the throes of addiction (lucky you!) What does this step say to you? What has power over you that you want to gain control of? Maybe you don't need a twelve step program, but if you do feel you are powerless over something, than you do need to take it to God.
I read in my devotions this morning that God wants to hear from us when it comes to the big stuff AND the small stuff in our lives. There are so many things I am powerless over in my life. I kind of always thought I shouldn't be wasting God's time with most of it. I should be using my prayer time wisely for the big stuff. That's not what he wants from us. When he says he wants all of us he means all of us, including the little things.
Does that mean I need to pray to be released from the power that the bag of Chicago popcorn from Costco has over me??? Probably, because I am obsessed with it! I pray they might just quit making it, maybe a recall!!! Whatever it takes! The truth is, I need to pray for strength to learn some discipline when it comes to anything sugar. The issue isn't really the popcorn itself, it is the fact that I feel the need to eat it 5 bags at a time!
Those words in that first step are words to live by. Powerless and Unmanageable. There is no reason to live that way because God has the power over all things in our lives to make anything manageable.
There is a song called Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster that has been in the back of my mind as I was writing this. The song ends with a child speaking this verse:
Isaiah 40:28-30 “The Lord is the Everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary, no one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives Power to the weak and strength to the powerless even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength and they’ll soar high on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not faint."
It is so sweetly spoken by this child and I always think to myself, “that’s us!” The voice of the child in this song is there to remind us that we are all his children, and he has all we need to live this life, no matter what the circumstances.
God has all the power you need, draw from it, embrace it. Live a life that is manageable in his love and grace. There is no reason for life to be unmanageable, if we keep him close.
Enjoy the summer weekend ahead!