The 12 steps method is the center of most recovery programs. It has helped millions recover from their drug and alcohol addictions. Although there are other programs out there, the twelve steps may be best known to those who suffer from substance abuse problems because it’s both well-known and data shows that it typically works if you work it. Understanding and using them is much easier than it may seem at first. There is no reason for you not to try and benefit from the amazing power of the 12 step program. Here are some facts about the steps that will help you better understand what they are and how to use them in your own life.
The Steps Are a Process
The steps themselves are a process that can change your life. It’s not just a list of things you have to do or tricks that will fix everything for you immediately. The steps are used by members of the program to get help from a “Higher Power” and benefit from using spiritual principles. Some twelve-step programs work with different beliefs and religions, allowing people who may not be certain about their faith to participate fully in the program. You can take any action towards your recovery process that feels right for you. This means that while some individuals choose to go through all twelve steps at once, others only complete one or two before they decide on what feels right for them. The steps are designed to be used as tools and not just a list of things to do.
They Are Flexible
The 12 steps themselves can be changed or modified if you feel that they do not work for you, so long as you remain true to the overall structure and basic ideas included in most programs based on these steps. Individual groups may have their prerequisites, such as regular attendance at meetings and having already completed another step workbook before starting this program, but the general elements of the 12-step process will be consistent across all groups (and there is overlap between almost all twelve-step programs). Many people feel that they have a better understanding and experience with the 12-step concept by working with others in group settings. However, you don’t need to attend meetings or find a sponsor to start this process.
They Offer Self-Help
The steps do not require an outside therapist, counselor, psychologist, social worker, family member, friend, or another professional resource. You can work through them on your own using whatever guidance feels right for you. This is one of the many reasons why these programs are so effective – they’re designed for people who may otherwise not find help elsewhere because recovery is often too expensive (and usually requires abstinence rather than moderation). By offering self-help recovery options, twelve-step programs remove cost as a barrier to entry for people who want to find help dealing with their issues.
The Steps Are Spiritual
Although the 12 steps can be used by anyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, they are spiritual. This doesn’t mean that you will have to accept any particular religion before starting this program. Instead, it just means that the principles and actions involved were designed for those who consider having a “Higher Power” part of their lives and find this belief helpful for them. These steps involve new ways to interact with your fellow humans and help create positive change in your life through spiritual guidance instead of relying on yourself alone.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
No matter what your doubts about the program are, remember that you don’t have to do this alone. There are other people in recovery from addiction who have walked a similar path and can offer support and help along the way. Even if you choose not to join a group or attend meetings, there is a wealth of information available online or through published workbooks that will allow you to get started on these steps at home. So long as you have honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, then just take it one step at a time.
The Steps Do Work for Different People
Even though 12-step programs are spiritual, there is no dogma or religious teaching included – only suggestions on how to get your life back under your control. This means that whether you have certain beliefs, or are just unsure about what you believe right now, these steps can still help you. The program works because it provides a framework to help guide people through their problems. You don’t have to accept anything as true or change anything about yourself except the way you behave towards others and yourself. The best part is that it’s up to you which of these suggestions feel right to incorporate into your life. If something doesn’t work for you then simply leave it behind and try something new.
While understanding these steps may take some time, learning about each of the suggestions can help you start your recovery from addiction. If done properly and in the correct order, these twelve steps can provide a powerful personal transformation for many people dealing with complex issues.