Learn the Basics of a 12 Step Program

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Have you ever wondered what is meant by a “12 Step program”? Do you have to be religious? Spiritual? Are all programs the same? If your loved one is entering a 12 Step program, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process. Rather than feeling confused or left out of the recovery process, you can be an important player in your loved one’s healing simply by understanding the 12 Steps.

How Did the 12 Steps Come to Be?

The 12 Steps were created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. The purpose was to develop guidelines for recovering alcoholics to follow when overcoming addiction. As the program saw success, other programs implemented the Steps, too. Though the model does involve spirituality and the presence of a higher power, it’s flexible enough that people of all beliefs, no belief and backgrounds can come to their own interpretations.

Another aspect of the 12 Steps is that there is no “right” way to recover from an addiction. Some participants will need to revisit certain Steps or spend longer on some Steps than others. Sometimes, participants can practice more than one Step at a time. The 12 Step-based perspective views addiction as a lifelong disease that requires a new structure for living.

What are the 12 Steps?

Here are the 12 Steps that your loved one will follow, as defined by Alcoholics Anonymous.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.

  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

  8. Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Do the 12 Steps Work?

One of the first questions that people have about this model is whether or not it works. Because participants are anonymous and formal research is limited, it’s difficult to say for certain exactly how successful the 12 Steps are.

What we do know is that many addicts have been able to recover from addiction thanks to the 12 Steps. Based on their testimonials and the stories they choose to share, the model helps them achieve sobriety and lead a life that is rewarding and fulfilling. At the very least, the 12 Step model provides support, accountability and encouragement for the people who need it most.

Are you ready to start your recovery? Call The River Source. Your call is confidential.