I heard an old timer at a meeting once deliver a graphic explanation of powerlessness. He said, "if you think you have any power, just try not going to the bathroom when you have diarrhea." If I have any power, why can't I turn off my mind and stop thinking when I'm trying to meditate? Why can't I shut off the voices in my head that keep me awake at 3:00 in the morning, reminding me over and over what someone did to me two hours, two weeks, or two years ago? If I had any power why can't I just "let go and let God," turn everything over and live happily ever after?

Faced with years of evidence, it was relatively easy for me to admit I was powerless over alcohol -- when I picked up that first drink I just couldn't stop. But it's been far from easy to learn the whole truth, the extent of my powerlessness. In fact at times the lessons have been excruciatingly painful.

I have no power over anything, not over other people, not over my thoughts, not over the circumstances that arise in my daily life. I am reminded of this fact at every meeting when I hear in How It Works. "There is One who has all power, that One is God." It says God has ALL the power, not 99% of the power, but ALL the power.

Yet, I live in the illusion that I choose, I decide, I take actions. This illusion is a trick ego plays to try and stay in charge. It gives me the sense that I have power, but as I continue to grow along spiritual lines I begin to see I have no power, I never had any power, and I won't ever have any power in the future. I will also realize I don't need power because my HP already supplies everything I need before I even think to ask for it. 

Today I see my recovery is nothing I did, but everything God did. "I" didn't surrender. "I" didn't decide to come to AA.  "I" don't choose what I think and feel today or how I will act. On some mysterious level everything that has happened to me was supposed to happen to me. My life continues to unfold exactly as it should. If my life were supposed to be one iota different, then it would be.

If I have no power, then why do I go to all these meetings, practice the steps and put my hand out to other alcoholics? The simple answer is I do these things because I no longer want to suffer. I no longer want to be dragged through life kicking and screaming. I want to float down the river in the bright sunshine whistling "zippah dee doo dah." Practicing the AA program has dissolved much of the fear, guilt, and anger in my consciousness. I'm definitely no saint, but I sure am a whole lot cleaner inside and happier too.