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Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous

What is Step 1 of AA?

The recovery journey begins when you make the decision to stop drinking alcohol and it continues through each stage of your sobriety.  For some people Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, begins a process of recovering from alcohol addiction. The first step in AA states:

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Taking this first step and admitting you have a drinking problem can be difficult, but it is the foundation of all positive change according to AA.

Alcoholics Anonymous Step 1 is the beginning of a 12-step program to get and stay sober. Although this step is the first step toward sobriety, many AA members have to revisit this step during their sobriety journey.

Members may study and work on this step many times. Some people have to return to this step after a relapse, while others review it periodically to help remind themselves that they will always be powerless over alcohol and need to use tools and strategies to keep themselves sober.

Ways to Follow Step 1 of AA

Speak at an AA Meeting

Some AA meetings give all participants a chance to speak. Before speaking, the participant is required to state his or her first name and say that he or she is an alcoholic. When you follow this format, you are participating in Step 1 and admit to the group that you have a drinking problem.

Tell Someone If You Feel Like Drinking

Sometimes alcoholics keep their desire to drink secret because they’re ashamed or think that deciding to quit drinking means they aren’t supposed to be tempted. This can lead to slips and relapses. By admitting to at least one other human being that you’re having a hard time with your sobriety today, you automatically admit that you have a problem that you can’t control by yourself.

Work With A Counselor And/Or Get An AA Sponsor

By seeking help for your alcohol problem, you admit that you’re powerless to stop drinking on your own. Your counselor can help you learn strategies to stop drinking and can be one of the people you reach out to when you are struggling.

Some people also rely on an AA sponsor – a person who has overcome alcoholism for a significant period of time and understands the compulsion to drink so that you can trust him to listen and help you when you feel like drinking.

Tell Someone If You Do Drink

Alcoholics who are trying to get sober sometimes feel deeply ashamed if they slip up and have a drink. But keeping your mistakes to yourself only makes it appear like you are in control when you’re not.

So if you tell your sponsor or other safe person that you drank as soon as you can after sobering up, it can be a way of admitting you are powerless over alcohol.

Step 1 of AA

How Can I Get Help With the First Step of Alcoholics Anonymous?

The 1st step of Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most difficult for people to take. Whether you are attempting to get sober for the first time or you are returning to sobriety after a relapse, it can be scary or embarrassing to admit that you are unable to stop drinking on your own.

If you’re ready to get help with alcohol addiction, visit the AA website to find a support group near you.

However, if you or a loved one need detox support or addiction treatment, consider checking into an alcohol abuse treatment center. American Addiction Centers (AAC) operates treatment facilities nationwide, with navigators standing by 24/7 to help you get admitted into treatment. To speak to an admissions navigator, call .

Next: Step 2
Last: Alcoholics Anonymous Overview