March 30, 2013

We Cannot Change What We Cannot Identify

by Daniel Womack (author's profile)


"We cannot change what we cannot identify." When I heard these words from a respected friend, I knew immediately that I had to work the Fourth Step. I hadn't even truly worked the first three, yet, but I dove into the 4th anyway.

Having completed my 4th Step, it was easy to admit my powerlessness over drugs & alcohol, easy to admit that my life was unmanageable in my addictions; these truths had been revealed in my inventory. So on to Step 2.

In Step 2, we come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. For years I questioned whether the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous were appropriate for me because of this very step. I knew I had a substance abuse problem, but did not consider myself insane. And then I learned a rather witty definition of "insanity" that struck a chord. Insanity: doing things repeatedly in the same way while expecting different results. Suddenly I knew I needed to be "restored to sanity".

In the 12-Steps community, we learn & practice such principles as honesty, faith, willingness, humility, spirituality (not religion), courage, service to others, & accountability. In my addictions, I held none of these sacred. In my insanity, I believed that I could continue to abuse drugs & alcohol, to be aggressive and belligerent, to be absent from my family, to neglect my responsibilities, to be accountable to no one, & that, despite my many failures, somehow everything would work out well for me eventually.

The set of principles I learn & practice in my recovery is truly powerful. My Higher Power wills that I practice & share the principles with others. Certainly I do things far differently than I did in the past. Certainly I obtain different & far better results. The Higher Power & his principles I dared to have faith in in Step 2 has indeed restored me to sanity.

Daniel Womack
March 2013
Soledad, California


Replies (2) Replies feed

Tom Posted 11 years, 1 month ago. ✓ Mailed 11 years, 1 month ago   Favorite
Is The Dan Womack that I worked at Habitat for Humanity with in Tucson? If so please e-mail me at

Thomas A. Villalpando

Theresa Posted 10 years, 11 months ago. ✓ Mailed 10 years, 10 months ago   Favorite
Well I guess I am insane also, but with food addiction. I love you Theresa

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