The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Welcome All of you, everywhere!
“Most people practice the 12 steps in their lives without even knowing they are doing it. Without ever having heard of How to start the 12 steps of AA, or the 12 steps themselves! You see the steps are about living your life well. Choosing Good, over bad and humility over self-centredness. The programme of these steps ends in a place of service, of you giving back from the newly found overflow of what you have received from your journey through the programme.
The whole programme and How to start the 12 steps of AA is in fact about suggestions. Nothing is forced on you. All that is expected is that you keep an open mind, listening and looking for similarities and not differences, for truth and not lies”, says Mark L Lockwood of Pathways Plett Rehab. He adds, “It all starts with surrender, of willingly putting down your way and starting to trust that there is another way that is better and more magnificent than yours ever was. When we do this patiently, we start to take responsibility for who we are and what we do, and ultimately what we choose to do next.
When we start to understand this new awareness, or consciousness, something magical begins to happen and we suddenly start to give instead of take. We become peaceful as self seeking slips away and respond with a graceful attitude that starts to drive a cycle of feeling useful, balanced and secure. Then we come to realize that our old way of doing things is gone, dead and buried, and we are renewed to a new life, metaphorically born again and miraculously we see we have come back from the dead!”
“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called willpower becomes practically non-existent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.” – Big Book, p. 24
People are not asked to accept or follow the Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so. When answering How to start the 12 steps of AA, people will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read AA literature describing and interpreting the AA program.
AA members will usually emphasize to newcomers that only problem drinkers themselves, or people with other addictions such as substance abuse, gambling, love addiction or even codependency, can individually determine whether or not they are in fact alcoholics and addicts.
At the same time, it will be pointed out that all available medical testimony indicates that alcoholism is a progressive illness, that it cannot be cured in the ordinary sense of the term, but that it can be arrested through total abstinence from alcohol in any form.
Where do we start? Step One, is as good as any.
Step 1 of How to start the 12 steps of AA will begin with admitting some things. This is the first step to freedom. At this point people read the Big Book of AA to see what it has to say about the subject of alcoholism. Usually chapters 1-4 will do the trick, getting you familiarized with what AA fellowship is about. At this point it is an introduction to understanding what alcoholism and addiction are from the point of view of people who have been through the process. People who have, perhaps like you, been to hell and back. Right here, at this beginning point something extraordinary starts to happen. I admit to myself that something is seriously wrong in my life. I have created messes in my life. Perhaps my whole life is a mess, or maybe just important parts are a mess. I admit this and quit trying to play games with myself anymore. I realize that my life has become unmanageable in many ways. It is not under my control anymore. I do things that I later regret doing and tell myself that I will not do them again. But I do. I keep on doing them, in spite of my regrets, my denials, my vows, my cover-ups and my facades. The addiction has become bigger than I am. The first step is to admit the truth of where I am, that I am really powerless over this addiction and that I need help. – From 12Step.org
When we admit our powerlessness and the inability to manage our own lives, we open the door to recovery. No one could convince us that we were addicts. It is an admission that we had to make for ourselves. When some of us have doubts, we ask ourselves this question: “Can I control my use of any form of mind or mood-altering chemicals?”
Most will see that control is impossible the moment it is suggested. Whatever the outcome, we find that we cannot control our using for any length of time.
This would clearly suggest that an addict has no control over drugs. Powerlessness means using against our will. If we can’t stop, how can we tell ourselves we are in control? The inability to stop using, even with the greatest willpower and the most sincere desire, is what we mean when we say, “We have absolutely no choice”. Step two is about letting Go(d) which comes with a profound sense of freedom, as you begin to watch, like an observer, how your new life of freedom and responsibility begins to gently unfold right before your eyes.
For more information, on how to start the 12 steps of AA, and information about other recovery models that work alongside the 12 Steps contact Pathways Plett Rehab on 044 533 0330.