There’s a big difference between prescribed medication and self-medicating. For starters, antidepressants don’t turn into formaldehyde in your liver like alcohol does, according to my psychiatrist. Another thing–antidepressants don’t work on people who don’t have a mental illness, whereas alcohol affects everybody. A third difference–you 12 Group Activities For Addiction Recovery can usually predict how a medication will affect you after taking it for a while. There is very little variation on a successful medication regimen., but when it comes to alcohol, you never know how you’ll react if you’re using it to self-medicate. In my active addiction, alcohol frequently caused more problems than it helped me forget.

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. Powerlessness in sobriety refers to the recognition that individuals struggling with addiction do not have complete control over their substance use or the consequences that arise from it. It involves acknowledging that attempts to control or manage addiction have been unsuccessful, leading to negative outcomes.

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

The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book says “powerless over alcohol” as its first principle. AA members believe they cannot control their drinking without the help of a higher power. The intensity of anxiety differs according to the gap between external demands (dangerous situations) and the person’s self-protective resources to handle them. Inability to deal with external events (traumas) could lead to feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Lacking the capability to cope with negative states, patients will erect powerful, sometimes intransigent, defenses in a desperate effort to avoid feeling them.

Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), offer a safe space where individuals can share their struggles, learn from others, and gain support. Recognizing and embracing powerlessness allows individuals to let go of the burden of trying to control something that is ultimately beyond their grasp. It frees up mental and emotional energy that can be redirected towards seeking support, developing healthier coping mechanisms, and making positive changes in their lives.

Addiction and Time

On the other hand, with the right tools, expertise, and assistance, you can remove the debris and rebuild something far better in its place. Admitting powerlessness over your addiction opens the door to possibilities, and nothing is more empowering than crossing that threshold. On the surface, this concept can make it sound as though you have absolutely no control in whether or not you recover from alcohol addiction.

examples of powerlessness in addiction

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