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II Facts about the Twelve Steps you might not know
 
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iii) Understanding Step One
It is important to know what the words "powerless" and "unmanageable" really mean!
 
 


1. You are Powerless! God is All-powerful!

2. Two simple sentences.

3. However, over the years R.A. has found that many people do not really understand what being "powerless" really means. They have somehow confused it with incompetence.

4. They think that because others seem to be able to solve their problems, or seem able to control their behavior some of the time, that they should be able to do that as well.

5. However, since they can't, they blame themselves. They think that they are doing something wrong. They think that if only they had the right sponsor, went to the right meeting, or read the right book, they would be able to behave the way they imagine they should.

6. Let's try this:

7. Right now, while reading this, try to imagine yourself floating up out of your chair.

8. In your imagination, try to clearly see yourself floating up toward the ceiling. Do not start reading again until you have a clear image in your mind, of yourself floating in the center of the room.

9. If necessary, stop reading and close your eyes.

10. Okay:

11. Were you able to see yourself, in your imagination, floating up toward the ceiling? Good!

12. Now, try to actually do this!

13. Try with all your might to float out of your chair and hover in the middle of the room.

14. No matter how capable or intelligent you may be in other areas, the chances are that you failed. You were not able to make yourself float out of your chair.

15. In fact, you probably recognized your powerlessness to do this, and did not even try.

16. The point of this exercise is to demonstrate that having the ability to imagine yourself doing something does not give you the ability to actually do it!

17. Someone can imagine following a food plan. But this will not give them the ability to follow a food plan.

18. Someone can imagine stopping after one drink. This will not give them the ability to do so!

19. They are Powerless!

20. Have you ever looked up the word "powerless" in the dictionary? It means "without power." It means that you do not have the ability to do something.

21. This point can sometimes be confusing. Let us try another example.

22. Let's say you want to go on a picnic. The forecast says it is going to rain. So you pray that it does not rain!

23. If it rains on your picnic, would you blame yourself? Would you think that if you had only gone to more meetings, or read more books, or prayed harder, you could have stopped it from raining?

24. The chances are that if it rained on a day that you wanted the sun to shine, you would not blame yourself. Most people can easily recognize, and admit, that they are powerless over the weather.

25. In addition, most people can see that the sun shining, on a day they want the sun to shine, is just God's will happening to coincide with their will.

26. However, before they work all Twelve Steps, they do not see that being able to follow a food plan on a day they want to follow a food plan is just God's will happening to coincide with their will.

27. Before they work all Twelve Steps, they do not see that being able to stop after a drink or two is just God's will happening to coincide with their will.

28. In R.A., we suggest that people apply this same concept of total, complete, absolute powerlessness—that they can easily see in regard to the weather—to every other aspect of their lives.

29. We suggest that they admit that they are Powerless!

30. We suggest that they at least experiment with the concept of a God who is All-powerful!

31. We ask them to consider a question. If God has ALL the power, then how much power is left for us?

32. In R.A., we propose that the answer is that there is NONE left for us.

33. That is why Bill says about Ebby in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 5, that "There had been no more power in him than there was in me at that minute; and this was none at all."

34. This is also why, as it says in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 6, we "must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all."

35. It is the reason R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 38 promises that once we work the Twelve Steps, "We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves."

36. In addition, it is why R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 19 says that we will make the important "discovery that spiritual principles would solve all [our] problems."

37. In R.A., we find it fascinating when people, who say they have "admitted [they] were powerless—that [their] lives had become unmanageable", still continue to try to control, manage, and take responsibility for solving their problems and behaviors.

38. There is an old saying: "Doing the same thing, in the same way, over and over again, and expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity."

39. This, of course, takes us to Step Two!

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