Ah the feeling of being powerless. Love it just love it-not! It is an acquired taste at best for a person that struggles with codependency. Here we go!
Step 1 Came to believe we were powerless over_________ and our lives had become unmanageable
What does powerless mean?
Powerless /pou(ə)rləs/ adjective without ability, influence, or power. If that is not bad enough here is a list of
Synonyms: impotent, helpless, ineffectual, ineffective, useless, defenseless, vulnerable
Uck! Don’t you just feel slimed by all those words! Might as well add hopeless and helpless then go eat a big pile of worms. What could be good about power-less-ness?
Owning the Problem Means Opportunity to Change
So whether it be eating too much ice cream or drinking too much alcohol or driving too fast, when I’m late to work, I will reach a level of compulsion, or obsession that I can no longer make rational choices in regard to limiting my destructive behaviors. I am blind to these destructive actions which make me powerless to stop them.
I am powerless over my own life. I am living in denial.
No one wants to admit that something is out of our control. Often I want to try just a bit harder, do a little bit more, be more persuasive in my arguments for my position.
When I realized I was powerless over so many aspects of my life it was both a relief and a problem. I really struggled with letting that go. Even ten plus years later I return to the first step when I get frustrated because I have to remember I am powerless over other people and many circumstances.
I really can only make choices for myself and I can’t make choices for somebody else. Now that doesn’t mean I can’t have boundaries. Setting boundaries require knowing you are powerless over other people’s actions.
Is Your Life Unmanageable?
The second half of Step 1 brings you face to face with the reality that your life is not working for you. In fact, the unmanageability of your life is often what shows up first.
Jerry and I spent a lot of time playing pretend. We pretended our lives were manageable at work, in our church, and with our friends. Addict/ Alcoholic families spend a lot of time managing their image. No one needs to know what goes on at home. The person you see in public may privately rage at the children. The fun-loving guy at the party may sulk and shrink from all family interaction at home.
In the video, we talk candidly about what woke us out of the slumber of denial about our unmanageable lives.
When the bills are not getting paid, living situations not are secure and food on the table is an issue it is easy to see that life is unmanageable.
In my case, I had been controlling everything to make sure the family was okay. I made sure food was on the table, bills got paid and tried to control Jerry and our ‘family image” enough make sure that nobody knew anything.
Playing pretend became a way of life. If we looked okay we must really be ok. The “family image” contradicted the family truth completely. We were all playing pretend.
Finally managing the unmanageable become too exhausting. I could not do it anymore. I was beginning just to crumble in on myself. The whole “family image” became very real to me when I began to get angry with my precious five-year-old son, who looks very much like his dad, for things his dad was doing. My anger in this area brought me up short.
Not being able to control my husband left me out of control and spinning in rage at my dearly loved children. I grasped onto Step One with all my might.
Download this free printable for your step one work. Pin it to your mirror, by your bed or to the fridge, just somewhere you will see it every day.