“Powerless” — Introduction

One of the strongest challenges to twelve step recovery arises over the matter of the word "powerless" in the first step of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other twelve step groups. Secondary to that is the matter of "God talk" which is closely related to the "powerless" issue. These issues are complex and can be understood at many different levels.  We thought it best to give this controversy a page of its own with links here from other pages that would have reason to include this topic.  If you read further, you  will see that we think some of this is just plain silly, but the use of the word "powerless" does raise some issues that we think warrant serious discussion.  Some of the arguments against the concept of powerlessness having a role in treating addictions are just plain silly.  Others warrant consideration.

Our full article on "Powerless" attempts to explain what the traditional intended meaning of "powerless" is as it appears in twelve step recovery literature, then to explain where it is useful and where it is not, and then to suggest practical application of this knowledge.

Please read our full disclaimer. You are responsible for verifying our information before acting on it.   

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Last Update August 7, 2018


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