The Twelve Steps are the general name given to the groups of programs that help people recover from substance abuse, addiction to drugs, and alcoholism. A twelve step program usually involves admitting to a lack of control, recognizing a higher power, and looking back at past mistakes with the help of a group or a mentor to aid in the development of positive habits.
The addict also usually needs to form a better relationship with a higher power during this process. For some, this includes returning to a prior religious belief system, and for others, it includes their own conception of a higher power.
A number of drug rehabilitation facilities and self-help groups often rely on these principles to aid in positive growth, as they have demonstrated a great degree of effectiveness and positive results over the years. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other drug-specific support mechanisms have developed to adapt this program to the specific needs of addicts and their particular patterns of drug abuse. Comedian, actor and recovering addict Russell Brand has even published his book, Recovery, where he breaks down the 12 steps in a modern fashion.
Step One – We admitted we were powerless over drugs/alcohol and that our lives were unmanageable. The first step involves some kind of acknowledgment that the individual is powerless to control their addictions. This is a way of recognizing that the addict is no longer in control of their own life. The first step truly establishes addiction as a disease and breaks the denial that can stop us from finding recovery.
Step Two – Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Many times there are two parts to the second step, defining what a power greater than ourselves is and what our definition of sanity is. When many of us look at our drinking and using, it’s clear that we were not sane in our addiction. We also have to admit that when we run the show, things rarely work out. This is where we craft our own opinion of a power greater than ourselves. For some this is the monotheistic God, for others, it is the group they belong to. The only requirement for a Higher Power is that it is not YOU!
Step Three – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
The third step is when we decide to let our new Higher Power run the show. This is where we establish faith and begin to believe that we cannot control other people and situations. We can only control ourselves and our behaviors and reactions to life. So we trust in a Higher Power and have faith in a power greater than ourselves.
Step Four – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Many times you will hear that people relapse over their 4th step. The reality is a fourth step is going through your life, looking at the patterns that led to destructive behaviors and learn how to fix those defects of character. We know who pissed us off, we know who we cheated and hurt. It’s about putting it on paper and looking at how we can change to be the version of ourselves that our Higher Power intended us to be.
Step Five – Admitted to God, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step five is simple. Find someone you trust and go through your fourth step with them and your Higher Power. Many times, this person is a sponsor, but it can be anyone. The idea is that we admit to another person all of the messed up things about ourselves that we don’t want people to know.
Step Six – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
When we get to step 6, many times our list of defects is already made via our 4th step. This step is all about acknowledging progress, not perfection. It’s asking our Higher Power to assist us in removing the defects that lead to our substance abuse.
Step Seven – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
The seventh step is when we start to do work on our character defects and shortcomings. This is where we truly begin to change how we react and respond to life on life’s terms. It’s that simple.
Step Eight – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Don’t worry. This isn’t the step where you have to apologize to all those you hurt in active addiction. That’s next. This is where you return to your fourth step and look at all those you have hurt as a result of your addiction. Make a list on paper of everyone and become willing to apologize for the pain you’ve caused.
Step Nine – Made amends to all those, whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
The ninth step simply apologizing to all of these people who have been hurt if possible, except if I am going to cause more pain than healing. There are some amends we also may not be able to make due to death or incarceration. We seek guidance from our sponsors and others working the steps on how to go about those amends.
Step Ten – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
The tenth step is daily maintenance. This is how we fully change our behaviors and how we react to the things life will throw at us. If we hurt someone or make a mistake we promptly apologize. We no longer hold resentments and look to help others.
Step Eleven – 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.
Many people refer to the last three steps, 10-12 as the maintenance steps. With 10, we began to look at our daily behaviors and change them. In the eleventh step, we seek to improve our relationship with our Higher Power. Whether that is through attending meetings and connecting with others, or through daily prayer and meditation. We ask for our Higher Power’s will for us and how to carry that out and help others.
Step Twelve – Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics/addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs.
The final step involves a spiritual experience through working these steps and carrying on the message of recovery to others. When you break the steps down it is just that simple. Service to others keeps us sober.
How Principles Recovery Center Can Help You Find Your Path to Recovery
If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, don’t give up hope. Recovery is possible, and not only through the 12 steps. Principles Recovery Center, a drug rehab program in South Florida, is proud to offer you a program that is family-based and focuses on your recovery. We don’t believe in large groups and having a sea of clients. We believe in your recovery. Call us today at 1-866-692-0909. Contact us today. Don’t wait.