#15 The First Step – I Am Powerless

If you get a chance to read Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book, you’ll find the first of the 12 Steps clearly described there: To recognize that I am powerless. To give myself over to my higher power, because I am powerless to stop this behavior.

I’d like to share with you; they got it 100 percent correct. The Mesilas Yesharim explains to us that Hashem created a force called the Soton (Satan). He’s a malach (angel) who is on the job all day, every day. He doesn’t get tired, he doesn’t get bored, he’s not easily distracted, he doesn’t need to sleep at night. While you’re puffing away six hours, eight hours a day, he’s there pacing at your bed, plotting, plotting, and waiting for you to rise so that he can pounce. And if you were left to fight him against you, it would be over.

The Mesilas Yesharim says no human being — the greatest of the greats — could fight the yetzer hara (evil inclination). And he explains “ilay Hakadosh Baruch Hu ozro,” if it weren’t for Hashem’s divine assistance. And understanding that I’m in a battle for my life, a fever-pitched battle against an enemy who so out-mans me, so outguns me that I don’t have a fighting chance, is the first step. Because when I recognize that, I turn my eyes to my Creator and I say Hashem, I did not choose this generation to be born into, I did not choose this battle, and I surely didn’t choose that rasha (wicked person) as my enemy. Hashem, I can’t do it. I take my heavy load and I transfer it to you. I’ll fight, I’ll give it everything I have, but I recognize I’m powerless. Hakadosh Baruch Hu, I rely on you, Hashem, I depend on you, please help me. That recognition is correct, that recognition is the first step in really winning the fight.

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