Powerless Doesn’t Equal Weakness


The first step anyone who enters an AA based recovery program takes is to admit they are powerless over their addiction. It’s likely among the top reasons that people who tell me that AA  “didn’t work for them” are resistant to that type of recovery.

Admitting we’re powerless is triggering. It might make us feel angry, or anxious or weak.

The problem is, while it does not make us weak, being powerless over some things in life is our truth.

For some of us, we’re powerless over how we got here. Our past and the way we were treated and taught aren’t in our power to change. Luckily, our reactions and our future choices are.

For some, it may mean we are powerless to change other people. If you are waiting for other people to change in order for you to feel differently, admitting you’re powerless over them is also step one in healing and recovery.

It is quite possible that some of this iscom ing up for you in this time of quarantine, even if you felt like you worked through it before. We all feel powerless in many situations right now and that can start the domino pile of other feelings associated with old stuff and today’s stuff.

The good news is, powerless doesn’t mean weak, nor does it mean out of control.

We still have control of how we heal, how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. We are not powerless over any of those choices.

Knowing what we need, setting boundaries and asking for help are all within out control.

Take some time to figure the first one out then start taking action on the final two.

The reason I keep pushing mindfulness during this time is twofold. One, the breathwork that comes with meditation is more than just mentally relaxing. Think of it like a way to hack your biology in order to bring your nervous system back from fight or flight and into a state of calm.

The simple act of taking a few deep belly breaths can slow your heart rate, oxygenate your blood and bring your “rest and digest” nervous system back online while “fight of flight” takes a break. This may be hard to remember when we’re in a stressful state. So, write in on the mirror in lipstick. Put a post-it note on your laptop screen. Get a breathe tattoo. Whatever works to remind you of the importance of purposeful, deep breaths, do it.

The second reason I talk so much about mindfulness is that we often can’t answer the question “what do I need?” because we never give time to listen for the answer. We either have created separation as a means of protection or we are simply too tuned in to others to notice ourselves until all we feel is pain.  Mindfulness forces us to focus inward in a way that can serve us best.

During this time where the world slowed down, an antidote to the anxiety and unrest that can come from feeling powerless over things, is to turn in and learn what you need. Then, start to control what you can. You’ll be amazed at how that changes the reaction from feeling weak or angry or anxious to feeling empowered and strong.


If you want access to weekly guided meditation and more support, join our facebook group 4C4Women. 



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