For many who are in recovery from substance abuse, the twelve steps provides a solid blueprint for long-term sobriety and health. While the guidance that the 12 Steps provide plays out the path to long-term recovery, there are those in recovery that may be hesitant in adopting the Steps as part of their journey in sobriety. The biggest obstacle can be the spiritual language that is intertwined within the wording of the Steps. However, there are more objective ways to look at the Steps in order for them to be adaptable to any belief system. The 12 Step concept is a staple of most treatment programs. If you going to be entering treatment or have gone through treatment, you will realize that the basic concepts outlined in the steps apply to your daily life.
Looking at the 12 Steps in Layman’s Terms
Step 1- We admitted we were powerless over our addiction-that are lives had become unmanageable.
In this first step, it is realized that we as addicts must admit that our lives have become a mess and they we are responsible for creating the messes our lives have become due to our addictions. This step is about admitting the truth and that the pull of addiction is greater than us and that we need outside help.
Step 2- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
This step is about hope, faith and ultimately realization. This is a step towards God or what our conception of God is to us. Ultimately, this step is furthering the process of stepping outside ourselves. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to recovery.
Step 3- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
This step is when we place trust God, our Higher Power, or our conceptions of either with our recovery. This step calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will and ego that prevents us from being humble and seeking help.
Step 4- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
The purpose of a searching and fearless moral inventory is to sort through the confusion and the contradiction of our lives so that we can find out who we really are. In the simplest terms, this is the soul searching step of the 12 steps and we chronicle both the good and bad in each of us.
Step 5- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
This step is the key to freedom. After the moral and personal inventory is completed from the previous step, we now have to admit our shortcomings to God, our Higher Power, and others whom we have wronged. For many, this step is the most difficult but once completed we have nothing left to hide.
Step 6- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
This is a step of preparation and reflection and this is the step where we as newly recovering addicts realize that the journey of recovery is marked by small victories and gradual improvement and progress.
Step 7- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
The seventh step indicates a change in attitude in which our humility is our guide. This step also entails removing the sources of addiction and temptation.
Step 8- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Eight signals the step of making amends to all that we have harmed our wronged. We are putting into action what was started with Step 4.
Step 9- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step nine completes what was started in the eighth step. We should make amends when the first opportunity presents itself, except when to do so will cause more harm. Sometimes we cannot actually make the amends; it is neither possible nor practical. However, we should never fail to contact anyone because of embarrassment, fear or procrastination.
Step 10- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step ten lays the foundation for the rest of the recovering person’s life. In this step, we are vigilant against addictive behavior and against the triggers for the addictive behavior. If we engage in this type of behavior, we admit our shortcomings and move past them.
Step 11- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
The eleventh step provides a continual reality check and we focus on spiritual needs as our base. Whether it is meditation, prayer or another spiritual way of connecting with your Higher Power, the eleventh step is where you begin your journey of spiritual growth.
Step 12–Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The final step involves being of service to those who are struggling with abuse by carrying the message that recovery is possible. This mainly points to taking another through the steps the same way your sponsor took you through them. Carrying the message can be as simple as speaking at a meeting to being a sponsor to just being a nice person. The twelfth step is not an end, but a beginning. The beginning of the ultimate journey for growth and continued freedom from drugs and alcohol.
In order to truly understand the power of the steps one must be in a clear frame of mind. The Palm Beach Institute begins educating and assisting our clients through the journey of the steps as soon as they enter treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction call us today at 1-855-470-2050 and take the first step towards continued recovery with The Palm Beach Institute.