Following the 12 Steps: What’s it All About?

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There is no one “right” way to pursue addiction recovery—but there are some tried-and-true structures and programs that have proven helpful to many. Arguably, the 12 Step Program is the most famous and the most celebrated of them all. Though the program may not be for everyone, it does offer some unassailable virtues. Foremost among them is structure: Recovery can often hinge on routine, and the 12 Steps provide a clear, well-defined path forward.

Another reason to choose the 12 Steps is that each individual can go through the process at their own pace; the program can be individualized in this regard, allowing you to linger on the areas where you may need a little additional time or help. Speaking of which, those who go through the program do so with the guidance of a sponsor, ensuring that they never feel alone or directionless in their 12 Step journey.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the program, here’s a quick synopsis of what the 12 Steps encompass:

  1. Admitting that you are powerless over drugs/alcohol.
  2. Acknowledging that a higher power could help restore you to sanity.
  3. Making a decision to turn your life and your will over to that higher power (e.g., God, however you understand this concept).
  4. Conducting a truthful moral inventory of yourself.
  5. Admitting to God, yourself, and other people the exact nature of your wrongs.
  6. Being ready for God to remove these character defects.
  7. Asking God to remove your shortcomings.
  8. Making a list of the people you have wronged, and being willing to make amends with them.
  9. Making direct amends whenever possible.
  10. Continuing the process of soul-searching and moral inventory, and admitting to ongoing wrongs.
  11. Intentionally improving your relationship with God and asking him for knowledge/wisdom.
  12. Carrying the message of your own spiritual awakening to others who struggle with addiction.

The 12 Steps represent one way forward—a way that has worked well for many, and may work well for you or your loved one.

Where are you in the 12 Steps? Let us know!
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