Step one only works for people who don't want to fall any farther "Only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength" (12&12, p. 21). This was certainly the case for me. I only accepted step one after a life of losing. Someone who knows what he was talking about said, "you don't land here on the tail end of a winning streak". "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves" (AA, p. 58).
People turn away from meetings all the time after they realize that they have to admit to being "addicted". I remember being so confused in my first few meetings because nobody talked about positive thinking and self esteem. I soon found out that in order to move forward I would have to give in and admit it: my life is unmanageable. Esteeming myself to be anything greater than the dust of the earth is an utter liability. I can't do this on my own! how many times had I proven this to myself? It shouldn't be this hard to simply admit a problem, but it is. My daily admission of powerlessness to God is one of the most important things I do each day. The more I say it the more I believe it. Its obviously true, based on my record, but so hard to admit to a room full of people. Once the floodgates of honesty are broken it becomes easy.
Now, even after years of sobriety, admitting that I am an addict is liberating. It helps me break isolation and turn to the help of others. I will never be able to help myself, but I can follow the simple orders to STOP FIGHTING AND SURRENDER TO THE POWERFUL HAND OF GOD! He is my higher power, and with him I am strong one moment at a time.
Step one is the initiation into the 12 Step Program. If you can make it past this step, then you are well on your way to lasting recovery. I just need to remember that I cannot manage my own life without the help of God. If I leave Him out of it, then I will continue to lose. This is the paradox of the program, through daily surrender to the grace of Jesus Christ I am made whole.