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What are symptoms of powerlessness?

Powerlessness may be described as an overwhelming feeling of helplessness or inadequacy in stressful situations – making us more susceptible to anxiety, stress and depression. This may include an inability to exercise our freewill when it comes to expressing opinions, making decisions or asserting our personal choices.

They suffer desperation and hopelessness, and they further feel shame and guilt for not having prevented catastrophic loss of life and property. But, what about their neighbors who live on higher ground, above the plain? Factually, they are as powerless against the raging floods as those whose homes were swept away. They do not suffer the ill effects of their powerlessness at all, whether loss of life, destruction of property, desperation, shame, or the other. They sympathize with the plight of the victims, but they live their lives hopefully, not in helplessness. Alcohol and drugs act as the kryptonite, Achilles heel, or fatal weakness, of every abnormal drinker and drug user.

Examples of Powerlessness In Sobriety List

Once you realize that addiction is a disease, you can start to see yourself as someone who is sick, rather than someone who is weak or morally flawed. Powerlessness is a feeling that comes from not having control over something important in our lives. We can feel powerless over our addiction, our mental health, our relationships, or our finances. Powerlessness is a normal and human response to stress, but it can also be a sign of depression or anxiety. The concept behind the references to God or a higher power in the 12-step program is to support addicts in the understanding that they need to find a source of strength that is greater than themselves alone.

alcoholics anonymous

There are 2 parts to this step, admitting powerlessness over alcohol and admitting that one’s life has become unmanageable. Although it may seem simple to “complete” this step and move on to the next, it isn’t that simple. Admitting you have a problem is always said to be the first step of recovery, but this doesn’t mean you are heading in the direction of sobriety.

Here’s what author and interventionist Jeff Jay has to say about Step One and being powerless:

Her experience in behavioral health training, program development, and organizational leadership lead her to pursue a certification as a Project Management Professional in 2018. Although Alcoholics Anonymous was founded nearly a century ago, many of the teachings are still applicable in modern times. Although Step One of AA is something that has to happen within yourself, that doesn’t mean that outside influences can’t help you get there. Working one-on-one with a therapist or attending group meetings can provide the ability to hear how others have worked this step and allow you the opportunity to talk out your own through process. Although you can if you desire, there is no need to work any of the AA steps completely on your own.


It is not a substitute for treatment or individualized therapeutic services. At The Kimberly Center, we know that acknowledging powerlessness isn’t easy, but we want to help simplify the recovery process. Call us now at KCENTER so that we can help you tackle the first steps of your recovery. We are committed to putting you and your recovery first. At the Kimberly Center, you are in safe and trusted hands. Quite the contrary, being able to admit that you can’t drink makes you self-aware and honest.

Apr I’m Not Powerless Over Alcohol & Drugs … I’m Not Weak.

You’ll often hear things like “I don’t have a drinking problem”, “It’s just one drink”, or “I can handle a beer”. Before they know it, they cannot stop drinking and have lost the ability to function. Because they are in denial, they still think that they have control over alcohol. That they have the power to stop drinking and manage their behavior with alcohol. This could be very dangerous because as long as you don’t admit that alcohol is in fact the one in control, you won’t be able to quit entirely. But, I still don’t think that I am powerless over alcohol and drugs. There was a major difference that stood out to me when reading these definitions.