Cirque Lodge > Blog > Alcohol Addiction > What Is Step 1 of AA?

The first step of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is known as 'the surrendering step' - it involves admitting that you have a problem with alcohol. Although embarking on the first step of AA can be difficult, it is essential as it will help you commence your recovery.

Once you admit that you have a problem and complete the first step of AA, you can begin to work on addressing your relationship with alcohol, mend your personal life, and secure a lifelong recovery.

What Is the 12-Step Program?

The 12-step AA program is one of the most popular addiction recovery programs worldwide. It is a support group based on the idea that addiction is a disease that can be treated with abstinence and support.

Launched in 1938, the 12-steps have been designed to help people overcome their addiction and stay sober. The program involves attending meetings, working the steps, and helping others struggling with addiction.

Many people find that the 12-step program is helpful in their recovery as the meetings provide a safe and supportive environment where they can share their experiences and learn from others struggling with addiction.

The 12-steps also use the 12 traditions, which provide guidelines for Alcoholics Anonymous groups to continue running effectively.

How Do I Complete the 12-Step Program?

To complete each step, you will require an AA sponsor - someone who has already been through the steps and is willing to guide you through them. You will also need to locate a suitable 12-step group in your local area. Alcoholics Anonymous world services mean that a group can be found in almost every town and city.

When you first start attending an AA group, it is recommended that you go to an AA meeting every day for the first 90 days. Doing so will help you maintain abstinence during early recovery and will help give you a good understanding of what AA is.

What Do I Need To Do To Complete Step One of AA?

The first step of AA is completed by going through the numerous questions as outlined in the working guide of AA. It is essential to go through these questions with a sponsor, as attempting to go at it alone may mean that the steps will not work for you.

The questions you need to answer to complete step one of AA include:

  • What do you want to change?
  • What pain or fear do you associate with changing this area?
  • What pleasure do you get out of not changing?
  • What will it mean or cost if this does not change?
  • What benefits could you gain by changing this?
  • How has this problem placed your important relationships in jeopardy?
  • Have you lost self-respect or reputation as a result of this problem?
  • Has this problem made your life at home unhappy?
  • Has this problem caused any type of illness?
  • Do you turn to the type of person who enables you to practice this problem or companions who enable you?
  • What part of this problem do your loved ones, friends, family, or business associates object to the most?
  • What type of abuse (if any) has happened to you and/or others due to this problem?
  • Can you provide examples of what you have done in the past to fix, control, or change this area in your life?
  • What feelings, emotions, and conditions have you tried to alter or control with this problem?
  • If this is an important area in your life, why haven’t you changed?
  • Are you now willing to do whatever it takes to change, heal, or transform?

Once you have gone through these questions, you will be encouraged to write the following:

"I admit I am powerless over alcohol, that my life in this area is unmanageable. I cannot, with my unaided will and present understanding, consistently manage this problem area."

Why Is Step One Important?

Step one is the first step you will encounter when you commence an AA program. You mustn't skip this step, as it is here that you will admit you have a problem with alcohol, which will enable you to begin your recovery journey.

This first step also helps you understand the problems that drinking alcohol is causing you and will continue to cause if you do not stop. It is said in 12-step fellowships that the first step of AA is the only one you can do perfectly, as you just have to admit that you are powerless.

When working on the first step, there is no reason to rush. If there is anything that you do not understand, your sponsor will be able to help you.

What Does Powerless Over Alcohol Mean?

Powerlessness over alcohol means admitting complete defeat and accepting that you will not be able to drink again. Admitting powerlessness also means you can now begin your new life.

The goal of step one is coming to terms with the idea that you are powerless over alcohol and that you cannot ever drink again unless you are prepared to face the consequences.

If you are struggling with an alcohol addiction and are ready to start your journey to sobriety, AA can help. The 12-step program is designed to help you overcome your addiction and stay sober. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery, so you may need to try a few different things before finding what works best for you.

The Importance of Having a Sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous

It is absolutely crucial that you find a sponsor before you start going through the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the main reasons for the steps is to understand the thought processes and actions that may be impairing your life. It can be challenging to see these without the aid of someone else to point them out.

In AA meetings, it is often stressed that you cannot complete the steps effectively without a sponsor. If you cannot find a sponsor that you believe you will get along with at the meetings you regularly attend, you can try heading to another meeting in your town to find someone more suitable. You can even attend online meetings and find a sponsor that way.

Whoever your choice of sponsor is, it is important to choose someone you respect, who has some of the attributes you want, and who you will trust.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol abuse, or alcohol use disorder, is a severe problem that can affect your life in many ways. It can lead to negative consequences like job loss, financial issues, and even criminal convictions. Alcohol abuse can also impact your family members.

Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help people recover from alcoholism. These treatments include counseling and medication, which can help people rebuild their lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a drinking problem, don't hesitate to seek help. Many resources are available, and you can stop drinking and start the recovery process if you're willing to try.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

If you have an alcohol addiction, you may benefit from treatment programs specifically designed for you. These programs can help you address the underlying causes of your addiction and provide you with the support you need to recover.

Usually, alcohol addiction treatment includes medical detox, rehabilitation, therapy, and support groups, such as AA. In most instances, people living with an addiction will attend a treatment center before starting the 12-step program.

Additional Substance Abuse Treatment

People recovering from alcoholism also often have additional problems with drug abuse. If you also have problems with substances and are considering attending a treatment facility, make sure the one you choose provides substance abuse treatment.

There are plenty of different treatment options available for those seeking addiction treatment. Speaking with family and friends and perhaps AA members may help point you in the right direction for a treatment provider that will best help you.

Attending a treatment provider where treatment professionals can take care of you and provide you with addiction medicine when you are in withdrawal will stand you in good stead for a long-term substance abuse recovery.


Step one of AA involves admitting powerlessness over alcohol. It is the beginning of the 12-step process that has changed countless lives.

For some people, the 12-steps are enough. However, people who have been drinking large amounts for a long time may need further treatment options.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol abuse and the 12-steps have not been working, it may be time to start looking at treatment facilities that can help you or your loved one understand additional treatment options for substance abuse.

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