Revisiting the 12 Steps
One of the most widely-known traditions to addiction recovery is the famous 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. These steps were to serve as a roadmap for those who came to the AA program in search of help and recovery. They have helped hundreds and thousands of alcoholics quit drinking and improve their lives. These steps still serve as an excellent foundation for any addiction recovery process.
1. Admitting the Problem
Often this means admitting that you are powerless over the addiction and your life has become unmanageable alone. This is the hardest step for most addicts and alcoholics.
2. Believing in a Power greater than Yourself
It doesn’t have to be the traditional vision of God that you turn to, but it’s important to recognize that there is more to life and the world around you than your own shortcomings and flaws. Trust that humanity and the greater nature of life can help and heal you.
3. Decide to Trust this Greater Power (as you understand it)
Turning your life over to God is a way of saying that you’re no longer living selfishly, but rather a humble flawed human now attempting to live for something greater, for a better chance at recovery and a road to salvation amongst your peers and the forces greater than yourself.
4. Take Stock of Yourself
Search your soul and be honest about your limits, strengths, and shortcomings with special attention to the morals that shape your character and make you who you are. Know yourself.
5. Confess and Admit your Flaws
Admit to God, yourself, and to another person all your vices and sins and shortcomings. Only by doing so can you sever the power they have over you, usually haunting you privately on the inside.
6. Be Ready to Change
Only when we have made the decision to be changed and helped will the aid come to us. Declare it aloud and make it known that you intend to change your life and yourself.
7. Ask the Higher Power for Help
This is difficult for secular folks but consider that by addressing something larger than you, be it the universe or guiding conscience of all humanity, you are letting go of the burden and readying yourself to receive healing and new direction.
8. Make a List
All the people you’ve harmed, hurt, or let down over the years must be acknowledged so that you can find forgiveness in yourself.
9. Make Amends
Find these people and do what you can to make an honest apology, as well as any attempt to further make things right. Take no guilt or hard feelings with you into your new life.
10. Continue to Audit Yourself and Admit Failings
As you progress along the path of recovery, continue to be aware of your own thoughts and feelings, admitting openly when you’ve let yourself down or backslid in some way. We’re all climbing this mountain together. Don’t try to hide your missteps, just keep climbing.
11. Meditate and Improve Yourself
Through some form of prayer, meditation, or self-reflection, strive to raise your thinking and emotions to higher levels of positive living, every day letting go of the weight and burden of the person you used to be.
12. Tell Others
As you find salvation and healing in your own humility and commitment to self-betterment, carry the message of hope out to other struggling addicts who may not be aware that it’s possible to succeed in these steps, or recovery at all. Be a message of hope.