Understanding Powerlessness Over Drugs and Alcohol

The disease of addiction is such that willpower is not enough for us to overcome our dependence on substances. Many of us had made countless promises and resolutions to stop drinking or using, and we truly intended to keep those promises, but we inevitably returned to drugs and alcohol. Despite the loss of friendships, relationships, jobs, and financial security, we could not stop. We had truly lost any semblance of power we may have had over our drinking and drug abuse.
Powerlessness is difficult to come to terms with. We may feel that admitting that we have lost control and power means we are weak. Others may not understand why we cannot make the decision to give up drugs and alcohol. Addiction is a cycle that seems inescapable. Dr. Silkworth, in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, explains that men and women suffering from addiction and alcoholism are “restless, irritable, and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.” Every man and woman in recovery can remember a time when they were filled with remorse and made a firm resolution to quit, yet they continued to go back to the “ease and comfort” provided by intoxication. The cycle of addiction as described by Dr. Silkworth is not the result of a moral failure—we simply do not have the power to overcome our addiction. The Big Book further explains: “If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried.” Therefore, as suggested by 12 Step recovery programs, we seek out this power in something greater than ourselves. We develop a concept of a power greater than ourselves that we can rely on for the power that we lack. By working the 12 Steps, we have a spiritual experience and entire psychic change that allows us to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Your story can become one of hope, faith, and courage. You can make the decision to give up the fight and begin building a better future by seeking help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers cutting-edge treatment techniques and methodologies designed to give you all the tools to build a happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777