Skip to main content

A Step One Reflection: Relinquishing Our Self-Appointed Kingship



Step One: We admitted that we were powerless over [ ] – that our lives had become unmanageable. 
I like to say I walked into overeaters anonymous looking for help with my “diet” problems and walked away with something else entirely. Step One was a jarring experience for me. I found it much harder than expected to admit I was powerless over my addiction to food and that my life had become unmanageable.

What got me to my first 12-step meeting was the birth of our second child. My second son came home from the hospital and my diet induced health problems were simply too much for me to be the husband and father that God was calling me to be. Before my second son came home, I was already irritable, impatient, wildly lethargic, and withdrawn. Once we brought that sweet boy home with us, I could not keep up with the challenge and—I’d say—even the joy of having a new child. My inability to cope had me sleeping on the couch for the first month of his life outside of the womb. I would often breakdown in tears and collapse with exhaustion—and my wife was the one doing most of the work! This was my “rock bottom.”
I had to decide in that moment whether I was going to settle for being the worst version of myself for God and for my family or if I was going to take this moment as a clear indication from God that I needed help.
As a Christian, I could almost too easily agree that I was “powerless” because I believed in the all powerful God. But I did not live as if He was the one with all of the power. Constantly trying to control everything and especially my emotions (when it came to my addiction to food) was clear evidence that I did not practice what—as a follower of Jesus—I preached. I realized in Step One that I trusted God with almost nothing. And my wife needed a lover and parenting partner, not another child to take care of.
Step One is something like a reflection of how every Christian journey begins. Like the “rich young ruler,” we approach Jesus and we ask him what we need to do to inherit eternal life (or get free from the addiction). He tells us to go and sell everything we own and to come and follow him in our new-found poverty. In like fashion we find ourselves in that first 12-step meeting. In these moments our “riches” are our habits and behavior patterns—all of the ways we have learned to keep ourselves in our addiction—and we are presented with the opportunity to take that first step and say, “I can’t do this anymore; this whole thing has gotten way outside of my control and way beyond my own understanding.”
In his book, The Twelve Steps and the SacramentsScott Weeman (the founder of Catholic in Recovery) writes, “The first step is a crucial starting point where the insufficiency of our human resources is brought to light. This step is a tangible way to carve space in our lives to surrender to the mercy made available by God’s grace.”
This “Step One moment” is when we look up from our place of despair and see the extended hand of Jesus. We have “completed” Step One, for the first time, when we take His hand and let him lift us up from the quagmire. Step One is something that we learn to live out at every moment of every day for the rest of our lives.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga once said, “It is better to be a child of God than king of the whole world.” It is indeed better to be a child of God, powerless and firmly in the lap of our loving Father, than trying desperately to manage and control, in our self-appointed kingship, every aspect of our lives in the heat of our addiction.
Charlie lives in sunny Florida with his small (but growing!) family. He holds a B.A. in Religion and Apologetics and has a passion for writing about recovery and the Catholic Faith in his spare time. Charlie’s 12-step experience has been in overeaters anonymous, but he finds joy in “working the steps” in every aspect of his life and sharing those tools with others. You can also find him writing at tamingthewilds.com.
This article originally appeared on 6-25-19 at the website Catholic In Recovery.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Our Lady as Our Path Back to Christ

I was 21 when I realized I was being stalked by Our Lady.
In my defense, it wasn’t as obvious as it sounds. Her books just randomly showed up where I might see them, even though they hadn’t been read in forever. I was constantly surrounded by ladybugs, even inside buildings. I had discussions with two different people about Marian consecration and I didn’t even know what that was.
...On second thought, maybe it was obvious.
Honestly, though, at that point in my life, a relationship with Mary wasn’t even something I considered. Why would I need to? I didn’t hate her. I didn’t disrespect her. I believed all dogmas concerning her. What more was there for me to do?
With that kind of attitude, it’s unsurprising that my relationship with Christ was pretty much the same at that point. I fulfilled my “obligations” as a Catholic in that I went to Mass, received the sacraments, and tried to be a good person. I didn’t hate God. I didn’t disrespect Him. I just wasn’t choosing Him.
And that’s where I w…

How the Most Holy Rosary Can Kill Your Sin

It is when I bring to mind the reality of my own fallenness and the shackling weight of sin that I am reminded of a secret weapon – one given to us as a loving gift from God. It is an old and powerful weapon forged in the fire of prayer. This weapon is the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the essential spiritual weapon of our time. The rosary is a weapon of heavens ilk. It is the loving gaze of Heaven’s fair Maiden and at once that great “destroyer of vice” and “defeater of heresies.” It is a sin-killer. It is the battle armor against hell and all its wicked forces. And it is the end and doom of our habitual sins. You Must Pray the Rosary Every Day How do I tap into this ancient power, you ask? Simple. Pray the rosary. Pray it every day! It will kill your sin because it will draw your gaze into the holy presence of Jesus where sin cannot maintain to dwell. A mind that is steeped in temptations is a mind quickly subdued by the beauties of God’s love. And the rosary is a…

Acceptance and Spiritual Detachment in Recovery

The loneliness of Jesus on the cross is the best definition that I know of for Spiritual Detachment. Spiritual Detachment is the total negation of self. "All for you, God. Nothing but you, God." Do you see what manner of love gave himself up for our souls? When we are able to totally give of ourselves, no matter our wants, preferences, even our needs, we are becoming more fully human. The broken man counts up the cost before he gives his life away. Jesus does not. 
This does not mean we have no boundaries or that we never say "no".  But we may have to learn how to say "yes" in spite of our fears.
Jesus had boundaries, and he exercised wisdom in his interactions with others. And of course we know that he was wildly honest. We can learn to do this too. We can learn to rely only upon God for our well being and no earthly treasure, while at the same time laying down our lives for another.
We must not understand spiritual detachment to mean that we care for no…