Overcoming Denial – Step One (12-Step Program) | Noah Bergland

step one - 12 steps

So I have just finished Step One, in my Narcotics Anonymous step working book. It took a little over a month to do, early on it was a struggle, as I learned something very important. I am in denial about being in denial. I thought I was beyond that point, I know I’m an addict, I know my addiction has caused major damage to my life and relationships, next question, please!

Dennis, this question about denial doesn’t apply to me.”

“Okay Noah, not all of them are going to, just answer it the best you can and move on.”

(Three to four sentences later, the material starts to apply.)

“Sorry Dennis, I’m an idiot.”

“It’s okay buddy, I knew you would figure it out.” (Dennis is beaming with pride at this moment)

“Hey Noah, what is the definition of denial?”

“Screw you, Dennis.”

That is how our early interactions went. But over time I stopped asking questions, I worked and trusted the steps and the answer I was typically looking for was eventually revealed. Step one, broke me down mentally, it tested me emotionally, and in the end, I grew spiritually.

I revisited rock bottom, as many questions are formed around these events. I have shared these moments in my life already on the blog. The three robberies, the raid, the use, the beginning of the end, it was 2011. Every time I go back to this point in my life, I become someone else.

People at work were starting to notice. The group I usually socialized with was noticing that I was constantly isolated in the corner, writing and listening to music.

Step one focused on the powerlessness of your addiction and the unmanageability of your life.

Two things that easily applied to me, my life was a mess for many years, because I never figured it out, and the drugs were always present because I wasn’t willing to part with them. They were never part of the problem, I actually thought they were actually part of the solution. I needed them to feel normal, and selling them was going to get me out of the unmanageability that had become present in my life.

When it got to the part about reservations, I learned that I was holding onto some. I was dreaming about the day that I could use again, I just had to get some clean time (sobriety) under my belt and build some success. Then Vegas here I come.

In the end, I surrendered, reluctantly. Step one has a way of turning the mirror on me, and I’m forced to take a good look at myself. I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t like what I saw in my writing. These are a few things I discovered:

-A pattern of mine is I obsess over relationships. It has been that way my whole life. I dive straight in, I don’t take anything slow. If I’m in love, let’s move in. If I think you’re cool, let’s hang out every day until we are sick of each other.

-Money is a tool I use. My irresponsibility with it over the years has formed insecurity. I use it to feel good, manipulate others, and destroy relationships. I can’t avoid it moving forward, but I can use the program to check my motives.

-Manipulation is a major problem for me, it always has been. Dacotah was right, all the times she told me I was a “manipulative POS.”

-Addiction affected every job I was ever employed at:
Guest House (stole for my addiction)

Dairy Queen (Originally I went to college, but then later the owner hired me to paint something, but I got drunk and slept in. He informed me my help wasn’t needed.)

College Pro Painters (Six years to build the reputation, six months to destroy it.)

Automatic Data Processing (Let go after four months.)

Northwestern Mutual (18 months of the bare minimum.)

American Crystal Sugar (Drug indictment hit the news.)

Precious Metals store (Fired for lack of effort.)

The spiritual principles were the easiest section for me to answer because of everything that transpired the month prior to answering the questions. Living with Dennis is like hanging out with one of Jesus’s disciples. It’s coincidence after coincidence and “God Bomb” after “God Bomb,” as he likes to call them. Whatever you want to call it, the moments are freaky and exhilarating, but you never get sick of experiencing them.

The Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) here at the prison camp showed me the damage that my life had caused, which got my attention, now Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is showing me much more, along with a different way to live.

One more thing I learned through the first step, from my counselor, is how to deal with an old friend who might put your recovery at risk, “If you want to hang out, I’ll be at an NA meeting at 8 pm, meet me there.”

Dennis says only the good ones show up.

Thanks for listening!


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Denied. Rinse. Repeat. Rise. | By Christopher Warren

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