AA1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

CA1: I have an unhealthy dependence on and attachment to alcohol that is causing trouble in my life and separating me from God.

This first step is the universal first step of making any change.  Nothing will change until I admit there is a problem that needs to be changed.  In AA, a lot of effort is spent educating the newcomer about this step.  If there is a newcomer at a meeting, the meeting automatically becomes a first step meeting.  It is critical this step be taken in order to make a beginning.  Without admitting there is a problem, there can be no beginning.

Some people, like me, had no difficulty admitting I have a problem.  I know when I take alcohol in my system it sets up a “chain reaction” that requires me to take more.  The more I drink, the more I want to drink.

The second part of this step, “that our lives had become unmanageable,” means I realize my alcohol problem is really messing up my life.  Each person defines “unmanageable” differently.  To one it may mean loss of an important relationship because of drinking.  To another it may be that drinking is interfering with work.  To another it may mean drinking is starting to cause health problems.  Whatever my definition of “unmanageable” is to me is what it is.  It’s important I figure out what this is for me.

For me, unmanageable would pertain to my weight gain, my avoidance of responsibilities at home, my poor work performance and my lack of ability to be present in my children’s lives every day.  Most importantly, and I think this would supersede all the others is that alcohol blocks me from God.  I lose my connection to my Creator.  And when that happens, life begins to lose direction and eventually I end up without hope.

What in the Catholic faith can I grasp on to in order to take this first step of admitting there is a problem and then pinpointing how the problem manifests itself in my life and relationships?

My first step would look something like this:  I definitely have a problem with alcohol and it is causing difficulty in my relationships with God and with my children.  Also, I tend to isolate from friends and family when I am drinking a lot.  My work suffers.  And I’m often tired and irritable.