The 12-Step program is a spiritual and faith-based drug treatment to overcome addictions and compulsions, particularly alcoholism. It is effective for those people who believe in the healing power of God and thus turn towards Him when seeking help.
During this program, people with substance use disorders build a group or a community where they abstain from intoxicating substances with the help of mutual support and surrender to a higher power.
Moreover, many members have experienced a transforming journey towards a new and better way of life after becoming a part of 12-step recovery programs.
Evolution of the 12 Step Program
In 1938, Bill Wilson, a former member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), originated the 12 Step program based on his journey towards sobriety. By combining his experience and tips with Christian inspiration, Wilson formulated the original 12 steps. Later, these 12 steps served as the foundation of the treatment model for AA and were updated from time to time according to the emerging challenges of the modern world.
Today, many versions of the 12 Steps program are available depending on the faith and the type of addiction. According to the person’s faith, the term “God” has broadened to any “higher power”. Many recovery groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA) also use this program with some adjustments.
What are the 12 Steps?
The 12 step guide is designed to encourage you to take back control while ensuring that the quality of your life and those around you improve through your direct actions. Let’s look!
1 – Honesty
The first step towards recovery is honesty and considering addiction as an ailment. If you feel powerless in front of alcohol and other substances, accept that it’s time to heal and recover from addiction. In this step, friends and family are equally important as they support their loved one’s journey and acknowledge that there’s a problem that needs addressing.
2 – Faith
Faith is the crucial factor behind the treatment of addiction and alcoholism in the 12-step program. You must have a firm belief in the superior power that it can heal and restore your sanity before beginning a recovery process.
3 – Surrender
This step involves your complete surrender to the superior power. You cannot heal yourself alone and you have to ask for help from the higher power. Decide to turn your life over to the higher power for a cure.
4 – Soul Searching
Soul searching includes making a moral inventory of your life and figuring out the cause of addiction. In this step, you pay attention to any social and psychological deficits that cause alcoholism and drug addiction. You identify problems and get a clear picture of how your destructive habits and attitude affect you and the people surrounding you.
5 – Integrity
Building integrity indicates an opportunity for growth as you get ready to admit your wrongs to yourself in front of higher power and others. The more open you are doing this program, the more benefits you intend to receive.
6 – Acceptance
Acceptance is the key to the success of the 12-step program. You accept your character flaws and defects exactly as they are while showing a willingness to change yourself for the better. Get ready to remove these character defects with the help of superior power.
7 – Humility
Step seven focuses on humility and humbly asks a superior power to remove your shortcomings. Seek the help of higher power while understanding that self-will and determination cannot achieve desired results alone.
8 – Willingness
At this step, you are willing to make a list of those people who got affected by your addiction. You are ready to face them and make amends with them.
9 – Forgiveness
You may hesitate to ask for forgiveness from others as rectifying mistakes is sometimes challenging. But it is an effective way to start healing your relationships. Ask for forgiveness and make amends to each person directly when it is possible. However, don’t push them to forgive you and let others take time and come to terms with these changes happening in your life.
10 – Maintenance
It is a common practice that nobody likes to accept their mistakes. But to get complete benefits from the recovery process, continue taking a personal inventory. Admit it when you are wrong.
11 – Making Contact
At Step 11, you establish contact with the superior power through prayer and meditation. Invest efforts in improving contact with your higher power.
12 – Service
This step is the deciding factor of the successful completion of the 12-step program as you start to practice its principles in every walk of life. Due to spiritual awakening, you begin to spread the message of this journey to others who need assistance and are struggling with drug addiction or other bad impulses.
How the Twelve Steps Program Works
The 12-step treatment program involves a discussion of the physical, mental, and emotional effects of the addiction. Two unique features of this program are following:
- A group setting: People participate in the 12 steps of the program by taking part in the group discussions. Members of the recovery groups emphasize self-admission of the problem they are recovering from.
- Sponsorship: A recovery group is usually run by a sponsor who is a more experienced and recovering addict. It works more like a mentor and mentee relationship.
By embarking on the journey of the 12 steps, you can lend your support to others in finding meaning in their life outside of addiction. People learn the dynamics of spirituality and begin to connect with the superior power and others. They start to believe in the healing power of prayer and meditation. In this way, they build community and help others address their bad habits through spiritual awakening.