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Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the oldest and perhaps the most recognized alcohol addiction treatment programs. With a history stretching back for decades, AA operates on its 12 Steps method, which gives a roadmap for those seeking recovery. Understanding the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous can be vital in helping you achieve or maintain recovery. 

What Is Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous (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 — that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Alcoholics Anonymous Step 1 is the beginning of a 12-step program to get and stay sober. Taking this first step and admitting you are struggling with alcohol misuse can be difficult, but it is the foundation of all positive change according to AA.

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 help stay sober.

How to Complete Step 1 of AA

Completing Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous can look different for everyone. It may include tasks such as speaking at an AA meeting, telling someone if you feel like drinking, working with a counselor, getting an AA sponsor, and/or telling someone if you do drink. 

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 admitting to the group that you may be struggling with alcohol addiction.

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 person that you’re having a hard time with your sobriety in Step 1 of AA, you acknowledge that you are having difficulty maintaining control in regards to alcohol.

Work With a Counselor and/or Get an AA Sponsor

By seeking help for alcohol addiction in Step 1 of AA, 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 – an individual who has overcome alcoholism for a significant period of time and understands the compulsion to drink so that you can trust them to listen and help you when you feel like drinking.

Tell Someone if You Do Drink

Those who are trying to get sober sometimes feel 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?

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

If you’re ready to get help with alcohol addiction and need alcohol detox or addiction treatment, you may benefit from attending treatment at a dedicated rehab facility. American Addiction Centers (AAC) operates treatment facilities nationwide, with admissions navigators standing by 24/7 to help you get admitted into treatment. To speak with an admissions navigator, call .

Find freedom from alcohol addiction today. Your health insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of inpatient and/or outpatient rehab. Use the form below to find out instantly.

Next: Step 2

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