At first glance, it may seem as though going to a 12-step recovery program and gaining a spiritual awakening might not have very much in common. It’s human nature to want things to come quickly and easily, and recovery is no different. Working through the 12 steps is a difficult endeavor, but the results are always worth the effort.
If you take a look at the wording of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, 4 of them refer to a Higher Power or to a spiritual awakening directly. You don’t have to be a member of a specific religious faith to follow these steps to sobriety. They are written in a way which makes them adaptable for people of any denomination. The third step addresses this idea when it allows participants to make a decision to turn their will and their lives “over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
No One Way to Sobriety
While each person may be walking along similar steps, their journey is a unique one. The 12-step program refers to tools like prayer and meditation, which can be used to get in touch with one’s self during and after any formal treatment at a drug and alcohol program, has been completed.
Once a client becomes familiar with using tools like prayer, meditation, and mindfulness as part of his or her everyday life, they can be used regularly. This combination of personal resources is an excellent way to reduce stress and stay focused on what is happening in the present. Addicts need to learn to take life “one day at a time.” For some people in recovery, the time frame needs to be shortened to an hour at a time.
Using these strategies can help them stay centered when difficult situations arise and they are tempted to give in and start using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with boredom, stress, anxiety, grief, or any difficult situation they are facing. Addiction recovery programs include 12-step programs along with counseling (individual and group sessions), equine therapy, and group outings to help clients learn how to adjust to life without drugs or alcohol.
Working the 12 steps is a way of life and the riches that can be discovered on the spiritual journey are numerous. All that a person needs to get started is the willingness to make a change and then everything falls into place from that point. The greatest gifts of recovery include letting go of shame, guilt, and fear and experiencing more peace, joy, and happiness than ever before.