Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Hear me out because now it gets gnarly.
I wanted to get personal today. I wanted to come at this 12-step thing a little like: “Hi, my name is John and I’m a __________.” This is where I’m going to confess what I am powerless over. It’s not alcohol, but it’s something else. We’re all addicted to something, right? That’s how we’re going to make this applicable to everybody — make everybody powerless over something. Surely there’s something. It’s just that I couldn’t think of what it was. So I finally asked Marti, after wracking my brain to come up with a couple things I might be powerless over, “What do you think I’m powerless over?”
She looked at me as if I had just asked her a question in Japanese. And after discussing this a few minutes I realized that the essence of what she was saying was the following: You’re kidding. You mean you actually have to ask that question? You’re having a hard time coming up with something you are powerless over? You are thinking that there may be one or two things you are powerless over on a bad day, but most of the time and in most other things you are powerful? It’s your own little personal equivalent to alcohol for the alcoholic. Just one really bad thing, right? Of course you’re not as bad off as an alcoholic. How arrogant can you be? Don’t the scriptures even say that in you, that is in your flesh, dwells no good thing? So what are you talking about?
I should have known better. I even know the tendency I have to make one thing my big problem and then stack up all the other things that are wrong with me behind that one thing, making it a smoke screen for everything else. Now if I could just fix that one thing…
Here is the problem with this kind of thinking. To come up with one or two things I might be powerless over seems to indicate that in everything else I am just fine. Not.After all, I’m not as bad off as an alcoholic am I? Yes.
Here is the joke: that I am powerful in all things except one or two things that may have me temporarily trapped or powerless.
Here’s the truth: I am powerless in all things. I am susceptible to the Lordship of Anything. Without the Lord, anything can rule me.
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 7:24-25)