A hundred million people can’t be wrong?
Love them or hate them, 12 step addiction treatment is bigger than any other program out there. The success rates are fairly low, but on the flip side seem higher than any other recovery or sober living program out there. Many people say they have tried the steps and they didn’t work. Few have put heart and soul into all twelve steps though. They are action steps, in other words, 12 step addiction treatment must be practiced on a daily basis. So love them or hate em, if you’re battling addiction, maybe you should not throw out the baby with the bathwater, and you should try and use them again? Since 1930 when they began, they seem to be the most lethal force of recovery out there.
How to practice 12 step addiction treatment
When AA and 12 step addiction treatment was founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob as a fellowship of alcoholics working together to overcome their drinking problems, the 12 Steps acted as a set of guidelines for spiritual and character development—a blueprint for recovery. The Twelve Steps serve the same purpose today.
What’s the Purpose of the Twelve Steps?
The purpose of 12 step addiction treatment is to recover from compulsive, out-of-control behaviors and restore manageability and order to your life. It’s a way of seeing that your behavior is only a symptom, a sort of “check engine” light to discovering what’s really going on under the hood.
How and Why Does it Work?
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Twelve Step facilitation therapy is a tried-and-true proven approach.” (There’s a reason, after all, why people still “work the Steps” more than 80 years later.) How does 12 step addiction treatment work? People are encouraged to take an honest look at themselves, then deconstruct their egos and rebuild, little by little. Why does it work? The Steps encourage the practice of honesty, humility, acceptance, courage, compassion, forgiveness and self-discipline—pathways to positive behavioral change, emotional well-being and spiritual growth.
The 12 Steps of 12 step addiction treatment
AA’s 12-Step approach follows a set of guidelines designed as “steps” toward recovery, and members can revisit these steps at any time. The 12 Steps are:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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.
Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book cites a 50% success rate with 25% remaining sober after some relapses.10 However, since many of the group’s published success rates are provided by AA itself—and because some members choose to remain anonymous or don’t want to admit to relapsing—there isn’t enough impartial data to measure those rates. Drug rehab centers offer 5-20% success rates.
Here are the 12 steps presented with different wording. Mark L Lockwood, addiction specialist at Pathways Healing and Life Transformation Center says this “the interesting thing about 12 step addiction treatment is that they are everywhere. They are merely presented in different languages in various cultures, societies and religions. 12 step addiction treatment and particularly the 12 steps themselves are in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Bible, the Torah and in Buddhist principles. Tony Robbins uses them, and so do a ton of self help books out there. The truth doesn’t change, only the presentation of the wording does!” So, you can also explore them in-depth and how others have applied the principles in their lives and gained insight, experience, strength, and hope.
Step 1: Honesty
After many years of denial, recovery can begin when with one simple admission of being powerless over alcohol—for alcoholics and their friends and family.
Step 2: Faith
It seems to be a spiritual truth, that before a higher power can begin to operate, you must first believe that it can.
Step 3: Surrender
A lifetime of self-will run riot can come to a screeching halt, and change forever, by making a simple decision to turn it all over to a higher power.
Step 4: Soul Searching
There is a saying in the 12-step programs that recovery is a process, not an event. The same can be said for this step—more will surely be revealed.
Step 5: Integrity
Probably the most difficult of all the steps to face, Step 5 is also the one that provides the greatest opportunity for growth.
Step 6: Acceptance
The key to Step 6 is acceptance—accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go.
Step 7: Humility
The spiritual focus of Step 7 is humility, asking a higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-will or mere determination.
Step 8: Willingness
Making a list of those harmed before coming into recovery may sound simple. Becoming willing to actually make those amends is the difficult part.
Step 9: Forgiveness
Making amends may seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but for those serious about recovery, it can be great medicine for the spirit and soul.
Step 10: Maintenance
Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery.
Step 11: Making Contact
The purpose of Step 11 is to discover the plan God (as you understand Him) has for your life.
Step 12: Service
For those in recovery programs, practicing Step 12 is simply “how it works.”
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