Step work in recovery: Step 1

Having a framework to tackle recovery is essential and the 12 Steps are very helpful during this process, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA rehab centre Wedge Gardens.

Today we look at Step 1: We have admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, and that our lives had become unmanageable.

This is where healing starts.

“Comfort can be found in realising that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing and making the principles of acceptance, humility, willingness, honesty and open-mindedness a fundamental part of the self – after accepting being an addict that has hit rock bottom and knowing one must surrender,” says Griessel.

She explains that when in active addiction, the disease is alive because the person is trapped in obsessive, compulsive, self-centred routines – with endless loops that lead nowhere but to physical, mental, spiritual and emotional decay.

“Denial, despair, isolation, powerlessness and reservations are all part of the unmanageability of the disease of addiction. This needs to be admitted before an individual can move on from their old ways and accept that a new way is called for.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit or call 011 430 0320.