As we begin our journey of recovery at Celebrate Recovery (CR), we are told and encouraged to accept Step 1 that tells us “We [are] powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives [have] become unmanageable.” Further, we are encouraged to follow Principle 1 which tells us to Realize I’m not God; … admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.”
This whole concept of being powerless was, for me, hard to grasp and harder to accept. After all, I had convinced myself for decades that I was in control, and that I could stop and start my behaviors whenever I chose. However, the part of that statement I neglected to accept was that I was in denial about who I was and the state of my condition. I had not yet learned the fallacy of trying to recover through my own willpower.
The concept of willpower sounds so appealing. “I can do this myself. I am in control. I don’t need anyone or anything to help me change my behaviors. I can stop doing _____ whenever I please.” Acting from my own willpower leads me to a place of pride telling myself I can follow through on my own choices and desires.
But, this thinking overlooks one big fallacy. For each of us in recovery, there is this ‘other self’ inside us. This other self is our compulsive person, our addict—our weakest and most vulnerable part—call him or her whatever you want. As hard as our rational side is trying to control our behaviors through our willpower, this other self is pushing back and telling us it is OK to act out, that we deserve it, or a myriad of other lies.
Until we accept how truly weak our willpower is, until we acknowledge we truly don’t have power over our other self and that we are powerless, we will remain at risk of continuing our unhealthy behaviors. For me, once I acknowledged that I hid this other side of me that was fighting my willpower, and that was working against all my good intentions, then I was able to accept my powerlessness and start the path of healing.
This process is one of accepting the plain truth of who we are and how hard the battle is in which we are engaged.
At CR, we have the comfort and knowledge that we are not in this battle alone. We know that Jesus is shining a light for us to see ourselves as we truly are and that He gives us the power to recover. It is not our power, not our willpower, but Jesus healing power that changes and restores us.
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.