There they are. Those words that you’ve heard so much about but haven’t quite read up on: a 12 Step recovery program. But what are the 12 steps exactly and why are they brought up so frequently in rehab? They are not a form of medical treatment–they’re not technical and they’re not meant to be followed perfectly. Essentially, they are 12 tenets that guide you through recovery and help with mental health illness and substance abuse issues. Originally, these tenets were written during an alcoholic recovery program by Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder, Bill Wilson in the late 1930s. Seeing as times have changed, we want to explain the twelve steps so that they are more modernized and versatile.
A Quick Mental Health Check Before Drug Abuse Gets Worse
The first few steps of the 12 step program exist to prepare the soul for recovery.Different treatment options will guide you with admitting your powerlessness in your substance abuse. There are many types of addiction treatment and treatment facility centers. Some things they have in common is that they help you have power over your life. Let yourself accept that. This seems intimidating, but the point of the first few steps and recovery centers is to get help. You cannot get help without first accepting you need it. Vulnerability leads to success in 12 step recovery.
The next few steps involve coming to believe in a higher power, or God as we understood him. Instead of letting an addiction have complete power in your life, practicing steps two through twelve teach the alcoholic how to find a new power in their life. The miracle is that many have gone before you and found the needed power to solve their problem, simply by practicing simple suggestions. Give yourself the gift of having an open mind and the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous will not fail you.
Bill Wilson originally wrote that this would involve letting your belief in God drive you to recover. This doesn’t mean you need to subscribe to any religious views or believe in God. The recovery process is a little different for everyone. Some people may harness their connection with God, and some people may simply believe in the fate that leads them to get help at a treatment center. This step just means you have to accept that which you cannot change without the help of outside energy. You also have to allow yourself to believe in the power to change your life and behavioral health. Once you have done these first few steps, you’re ready to look inward and get honest about your lifestyle.
Getting Into The Causation Of Your Substance Abuse
Steps four, five and six involve looking into why and where things went wrong. How did you get to inpatient rehab? If it’s outpatient rehab, are you able to understand the limits of your habits? What got you to this point of drug abuse and mental confusion? This is where you’ll get deep into your personal choices. You’ll talk to people about yourself, and hear about them too. You’ll write a lot of things you want to change and take a personal inventory of all your thoughts.
You’ll even have to accept your shortcomings. This is when your personal inventory becomes a moral inventory. By moral inventory, we mean a literal break down of the things you have done to negatively affect yourself in some way. This may be an uncomfortable process, but the freedom on the other side is priceless.
When you feel guilt or pain, remind yourself of your belief that you’re in the hands of healing energy that will guide you to recovery. Your recovery center is there to help you, so remember to be vocal if you’re having a hard time connecting to your morals and values.
When these things become more apparent to you, and you’re comfortable with accepting them, you’ll be ready for the next step. This next step involves your readiness to get help in removing bad things from your life. These bad things come in many forms. If you’re alcohol addictive, you’ll focus on removing alcohol from your life or saying goodbye to people who encourage you to drink. Recovery programs make sure you’re centered around taking care of your own well being, so even though it may seem like they want you to say goodbye to things you love, it could be because you don’t realize how bad they are for you. Your true loved ones are the people who build you up and inspire healthy choices. Addiction recovery sometimes means saying goodbye to people you thought were loved ones, but who actually just drove you to use your drug or alcohol of choice. Harness your spirituality during these times and realize why you’re there.
The Culminating Point Of The 12 step Programs
Steps nine through twelve can be really emotional because they involve being more deeply critical of yourself. If you’re at a treatment facility for drugs and alcohol, there is a large chance you’ve hurt other people around you. Don’t beat yourself up, just continue through the steps. They will treat you to forgive yourself but also to change the parts of yourself that drive you to use. This will be a spiritual process for you as you delve into who you are even farther.
You’ll be able to contact the loved ones who have been involved in your journey and tell them about what you have learned. This could involve some awkward conversation, but just remember that it will enlighten them as to how much you’ve grown. If you’re religious, you’ll find comfort in prayer. If you’re more spiritual, you’ll find a love for meditation and of clearing the head of thoughts. The repetitive nature of the 12 step program is designed to culminate in a spiritual awakening. You will lose the desire of ever having to use drugs or alcohol again. Finding true inner happiness through having a spiritual awakening will far outweigh the obsessive thought of wanting to drink or get high. Living a sober lifestyle will feel amazing–not only because of physical health–but also for the mental clarity you will find.
It Doesn’t Stop When You Leave A Treatment Center
Your job after going through steps one through eleven is to continue to spread the message of the 12 steps to others that may need guidance. People need you and they need your wisdom and understanding. You will be an expert on what it feels like to leave behind your drug of choice, but open yourself up to those with other addictions and tell them your story. There will be many more people you notice struggling with addiction than you could have ever imagined. Lots of people want to shy away from sobriety and continue to use drugs and alcohol, because they have not experienced the solution on this level. Leaving behind your loved ones and everything worthwhile in life is a symptom of addiction disease. This symptom keeps others spiritually sick and in darkness.
This is why it’s so important to spread the knowledge of your spiritual awakening–the very essence of the twelfth step.
Drug addicts feel alone and scared. They use drugs and alcohol so that they can feel distracted by things they are avoiding. Remind them that when you were struggling with addiction, the twelve step program guided you to a solid understanding of yourself. Help them to choose between inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Tell them how you got into drugs and alcohol and how much better life is during sober living. Enforce the concepts you have learned through accepting powerlessness. The feeling of giving back and helping someone else get sober will keep you in everlasting peace and happiness.