Step One

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We admitted we were powerless – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 1. This is where we start.

How many times did I say, I can’t handle this. It’s too much. My life is out of control and I don’t know what to do. How can I fix this? How can I fix my husband? What do I need to do differently? How do I make things better?

I spent years trying to fix everything. I felt helpless. But admitting I was powerless…that I couldn’t fix what was wrong…That didn’t come easily…or quickly…

Sure, I can say I knew my life was unmanageable. I probably said it many times. But I always thought I could fix it.

If only I was a better wife. If only he could not drink so much. If only he had different friends. If only we lived somewhere else. If only he would just drink at home and not go out all the time. If only he would pass out before he got mean. If only I could make him do things my way. If only he would go to work every day. If only, if only, if only….

I had a different “if only” every day. I just needed to change one thing. Whether it was a change in me or him or our life…I just needed to be able to make that one change and things would be better.

I mean, yes, I prayed for things to get better. For him to stop drinking. For God to show me how to fix everything.

I was convinced I could still fix things. It was still in my control. I was convinced that “if only”…I could make our lives change.

I had never gone to an AA or AlAnon or Celebrate Recovery meeting. I had started (a few years ago) going to our Life Recovery class at church, but I was just there for the hubby. And, yes, he definitely needed to pay attention and maybe work on that step thing, but as far as me paying attention to what was being taught and applying it to MY life…Well. I didn’t need recovery, so all I heard was, “Rob needs to do this and that…”

But even if I did think some of it might do me some good…this whole step 1 thing seems a little like stepping on my “need to control” toes. In my mind, life was out of control, but there were some things I could still control.

I could control when he was around our girls. I could control making him get up and go to work. (Yeah, that worked) I could control dumping his bottles down the sink so he didn’t have anything else in the house to drink. (All that controlled was ensuring he was going to go out and spend more money on another bottle!) I could control me ignoring him. I could control how I acted around him. (Not nice!) I could control what others knew was going on in our home.

I controlled a lot. (In my mind—not in reality!) And this whole admitting we were powerless part…well, it sure sounded a whole lot like giving up my control.

Until it didn’t. Until I finally listened to God telling me, you’re not really controlling anything. And what you are controlling, well, how’s that working out for you?

I would love to say that when I finally admitted I was powerless and my life had become unmanageable that the hubby all of a sudden quit drinking and our life became all sunshine and roses. That would be an awesome story right?

I would love to say that when I admitted it for the first time I stopped trying to control everything. That I effortlessly moved on and gave everything over to God.

But the reality is, I have to say this every day. Sometimes several times a day. Even though our life looks completely different now, I still say this daily.

Because the moment I start thinking I’ve got this. The minute I think I can do this on my own. Even the small things…I will fail. If I say, ok, God, I admit I’m powerless in all of these areas of my life, except this one, no, this one I’ve got…I can control that other one part…That’s when He gently (or not) reminds me, what a mess my life was when I tried to be in control. And that no matter how bad of a day I might have, any day where I rely on His strength and His plan, is going to be a thousand times better than the best day I had relying on my own strength.

Step 1 is not a one time declaration. It’s a life changing statement that I make every day.

We admitted we were powerless – that our lives had become unmanageable.

And I’m thankful every day that I am powerless and that I (finally) learned to lean on God’s word. Because I can’t do this on my own. But there is nothing I can’t do in His strength.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  (Romans 7:18 ESV)

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About angelastricklin

Thanks for stopping by! If you're on FB, follow me: www.facebook.com/lifewithgreeneyes Instagram @angelastricklin Twitter @angelastricklin Pinterest @Angela Stricklin I'm a wife, mom of three girls and one fur baby. By day, I'm an HR manager to pay for all things girly girl and occasional fur baby treats. I add things to my Amazon wish list instead of my cart because my girls cost All. The. Money. Instead of sleeping, you can find me writing about faith, marriage, parenting and my favorite things on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Pinterest.
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3 Responses to Step One

  1. Frances says:

    Just found your blog. My husband is an alcoholic. He just got back from rehab for the 4th time and drank on the way home. We have 3 children. My middle child has an autoimmune disorder that causes him to miss a lot of school. I can’t control their illnesses, as much as I would like to! I have started going to al anon meetings and am finding them very helpful. I didn’t realize how much I was focusing my attention and energy on things that are beyond my control! Your blog is a great reminder what I need to be doing everyday! I have always felt God’s presence beside me, but now I am working on really leaning into God, and letting him carry my load and lead my way—thanks for encouraging me, and reminding me that it’s okay if I need to remember this many times throughout the day!

    Frances

    • Frances

      Thank you for reading! One of the hardest things I had to realize was that I couldn’t control my husband. I had to change my heart and let God take care of changing his. Al Anon can be a great support and I hope you will consider finding a local Celebrate Recovery group as well. I tried Al Anon and it didn’t fit with me, but everyone’s needs are different, and each group is different, because it’s made up of different people, with often varying ideas and opinions 🙂 Celebrate Recovery is a place where I have found such amazing fellowship and understanding with like-minded Christ followers. We worship together, have a lesson, then break off in to small discussion groups and most CR’s have a meal beforehand as well. The small groups are where I have found my deepest relationships, healing and revelations. Because the groups are split into men and women, it’s a place where I can be more open without worrying that someone else will try to fix me by telling me how I should be doing something. CR’s groups are meant to support, listen, encourage, lift up and pray for each other, not try to fit any one in to their idea of how life should look.
      I’m so sorry you are going through this struggle right now and I will keep you in my prayers. Focusing on God, leaning on Him, acknowledging that only through Him can we find strength is such a huge step! I pray that God will minister to you and that you feel His arms wrapped around you, carrying you when you don’t think you can take another step, because that is when He performs His greatest miracles in our lives, when we give ourselves over to His power and will for our lives.
      I pray that He blesses you today,and that you recognize the blessing even amidst the storm you’re in.
      Much love to you Frances!

      • Frances says:

        Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Angela, I really appreciate them! I had not heard of Celebrate Recovery before, until yesterday. My husband has applied for residency at the Healing House here, where they follow the Celebrate Recovery steps. He has been accepted and is waiting for an open bed. I will have to research to see if they have CR groups for me here in Kansas City, too. Right now it’s hard for me to hope for anything different, it seems like things have been bad for so long.

        Thank you for your prayers—they mean the world to me. I am going to do my best today to give myself over to His power and His will for my life.

        Love,
        Frances

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