When people who are addicted to and alcohol finally make the decision to pursue recovery and break free from the shackles of addiction, their lives are a complete mess. When addicts are ready to enter treatment, they are often estranged from family and other loved ones, are in severe financial distress and are struggling with their emotional and physical health. While their lives and the lives of their loved ones are in complete ruin, the addict may still be in extreme denial regarding their condition–and that is of great concern.

In order for the addict to truly start on the right foot with their recovery, they must admit to themselves they are powerless in the face of their addiction. This first step is crucial and the addict needs to be all in. If an addict can’t see with their eyes and soul they have no control over their life when addicted to drugs and alcohol, the chances of recovery are slim to none.

Defining Powerlessness

drug addict


Powerlessness is a very difficult emotion to accept because we as humans are very prideful creatures. We are intelligent, strong and capable of great resilience, creativity, and strength. Given that all the positive attributes we possess, how can we fall short in certain situations and not be in control of our lives? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of the word powerlessness, we see the following:

“having no power : unable to do something or to stop something”

“devoid of strength or resources”

“lacking the authority or capacity to act”

To think that specific situations and events can allow us to spiral helplessly out of control  can be unsettling, disturbing, and even inconceivable for us to think about. This is especially true if people become powerless in the face of substance abuse, dependence, and addiction.

The Difficulty in Defining Powerlessness in Addiction

drug addict powerless

For of those addicted to drugs and alcohol,  being truly able to admit they are powerless in addiction is like wrestling with the Devil. For the addict, their mindset is one of extreme denial, and while family and friends can see the debilitating effects of addiction, the addict won’t see what truly is going on until it is too late and their lives are in shambles. There is no doubt about it; admitting weakness and powerlessness is tough is any situation, especially in addiction. However, it needs to be done if the addict has any chance at recovery.

Powerlessness is the main theme in the First Step of all 12-Step traditions, and it is that way for a very good reason. As stated earlier, if the struggling addict cannot fully admit in that addiction has taken over their life, they will never truly embrace sobriety and they will continue to struggle with substance abuse until they experience serious consequences like extended stays at the  hospital,  get thrown in jail, end up in some sort of institution or die.

While understanding powerlessness can be the major roadblock towards a life of recovery, there is a way that addicts can understand the concept of powerlessness in addiction that will make complete sense.

The Way To Look At Powerlessness in Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Powerlessness can be taught of in the following  terms. For the addict, the powerlessness in addiction centers on the method they have chosen  in order to feel happiness or to address pain and not centered on them as people. Using drugs and alcohol creates feelings of pleasure and comfort that are short-lived. While the use of substances gives the illusion of feeling better, their use is a symptom of deeper issues that continue to spiral out of the control of the addict. While they may see how their addiction has affected their lives and those that love them, they continue to use drugs and alcohol because the deeper issues have not been dealt with.

Tips to Help Addicts Truly Overcome Powerlessness in Addiction

The development of an addiction doesn’t happen overnight; it is the result of events and situations in the addict’s environment that took shape over  a considerable period of time. In order to break free from addiction, the addict needst to able to create an environment where recovery is possible. The first step is learning how you can take the power back in your life. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this, and many of these ways are based on 12-step principles.

One suggestion is to make a list of those people in your life that have been hurt, harmed and otherwise significantly affected by your addiction. Another tip is to start going to those people that you have hurt and be honest as far as how your behaviors have impacted their lives. Making amends in this way can start the healing process, provided that you are honest and candid about your feelings. As alluded to earlier, making an inventory of the bad things you have done in your addiction and SAYING THEM ALOUD AND REPEATEDLY.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, get to a 12-Step meeting or other support group meeting. When you attend a meeting, you will hear the stories of people just like you who have shared similar experiences to yours and are learning to overcome the obstacles they are encountering in recovery. You will begin to realize that you aren’t alone in your feelings and can find motivation in the stories of those who may have considerable clean time under their belt.

Break Free From Your Addiction With Help From Ocean Breeze Recovery Center

Are you ready to leave your addiction behind? Are you ready to reclaim your life and family? If you are truly ready, Ocean Breeze Recovery Center can help you realize your recovery goals. We employ a wide variety of therapeutic techniques that can be tailored to meet each addict’s unique and specific needs. We provide a full range of care through the client’s stay and provide them with the tools, encouragement and support they need to succeed in their sobriety.

Call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center today and regain your power.

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