An Introduction to the 12 Steps
The Twelve Steps is the recovery program instituted by Alcoholics Anonymous at its founding in 1938. These Twelve Steps are "attitude adjustments," decisions to remake your life and overcome addiction. This process has become the basis for many addiction recovery programs, not just for alcohol addition. In fact, many of the best drug and alcohol rehab programs in the country have programs based on these Twelve Steps.
The first step is "We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable." Drug and alcohol rehab programs insist that those seeking treatment acknowledge that they can go no lower, and that on their own, they cannot overcome their addictions. It allows them to accept the remaining eleven steps of the program.
The second step states "We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Drug and alcohol rehab programs emphasize that a person's conception of God is an individual choice. Counselors and psychologists want these programs to be open to everyone - including atheists and agnostics. The "power greater than ourselves" could simply be the love and care they find in the recovery group. This leads into step three, which states, "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood Him."
Step four says, "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." This means looking honestly at flaws and failings, especially those exacerbated our caused by drug and alcohol addiction. This leads into step five, in which "We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." Drug and alcohol rehab programs insist on this step, hard as it may be, because unless addicts admit their failings to another person, they are likely to fall back into their old behaviors. This leads into step six, "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." In this step, a person admits they are powerless to change without the help of a Higher Power. This is related to step seven in which "We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings." Step seven is similar to step three, but now that those seeking recovery know their faults and failings, they can be very specific in asking God to remove them.
Although drug and alcohol rehab programs stress self-surrender and reliance on a Higher Power, this does not mean that those seeking recovery do not take strong action. Step eight says, "We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all." Step nine directly follows, "We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
As addicts start to see real improvement in their lives drug and alcohol rehab programs guide them in shaping their current lives for the better and readying themselves for their new lives ahead. Step ten states, "We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." This encourages a lifelong journey of self-awareness and improvement. With step eleven, drug and alcohol rehab programs encourage a lifelong relationship with God and a daily journey to make that relationship stronger. This step states, "We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out."
As addicts see their lives truly turning around and begin to prepare for the journeys ahead, they do so with the twelfth step, which aims to bring this newfound peace to others who may be suffering from addiction and to carry on the process of recovery in the days and years ahead. This step states, "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."
Austin Recovery is one of the best drug and alcohol rehab programs in the country, and has been offering effective and compassionate treatment since 1967. We incorporate the twelve steps, as well as evidence and experienced based treatments to form "The Austin Recovery Way." If you or a loved one are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, call us at 1-800-373-2081 or visit our website at http://www.austinrecovery.org.
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