Recovery Philosophy | 12-Step Immersion
Here at Amethyst, we believe in the value of educating our clients. We teach numerous methods of recovery, one of the foremost being our Recovery Philosophy program. A primary focal point of this approach is that our clients will need to understand the 12 steps of recovery in order to work their program. As such, we endeavor to facilitate their spiritual growth as they immerse themselves in this powerful program of recovery.
So that you may better understand the 12-step model and all that it entails, please find brief descriptions of each step below.
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
The moment clients accept their need for recovery, they have made a start on Step One. When we accept that our substance abuse has grown out of control, we take a major leap toward complete honesty with ourselves. Without this foundation, we can make no real progress on the rest of the steps. At this point, we begin breaking down denial and fully accepting the consequences of our actions, coming to realize that continued substance abuse will only make things worse.
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Many people commonly misinterpret Step Two as a religious undertaking; however, spirituality and religion are not entirely synonymous. Simply by accepting the existence of something greater than ourselves—be it God, the AA program or something else—we learn to get out of our own heads. During active addiction, we fall victim to a world existing largely between our ears. When the addict or alcoholic begins to see that this life is illusory, they begin thinking more rationally and approaching their recovery without the sense of hopelessness that once pervaded their thought process.
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.”
No matter how we define our Higher Power, we must now accept it as a source of guidance. We learn to accept that our assertions of willpower often lead us down a treacherous road. No matter how many times we tried to control our substance abuse on our own, we never found ourselves capable. By surrendering this incessant need for control, we allow ourselves to benefit from our treatment program. We give up our control over the world around us, but gain control over our own course of action.
“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
When we take our clients to outside meetings, we provide them the opportunity to meet a sponsor. After working with their sponsor for a while, they will eventually be asked to list out their resentments, fears and misconduct. This applies not only to the course of their addiction, but their entire life leading up to it as well. Substance abuse is only a symptom of a greater affliction. Taking a thorough inventory allows us to identify the rest of our symptoms so that we may treat them appropriately.
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
After taking inventory, we present it to our sponsor. Many struggle more with Step Five than with Step Four, finding it difficult to share certain items on the list. Once they break through this resistance, however, they often find that they are not alone. No matter how dark the wreckage from our past may feel, we can always find someone who relates to it. This realization helps relieve our self-imposed burden of shame, afterward we find it easier to approach our sponsor, therapist and fellow addicts with complete honesty.
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
When we present our inventory in Step Five, our sponsor helps us to identify various shortcomings that often made our life more difficult. As noted above, addiction is only one symptom of our disease. In Step Six, we become ready to relieve our other symptoms to the best of our ability. Control issues, envy, anger, deceit—these are all examples of the types of issues we will face in Step Six.
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
Step Seven entails developing the humility to recognize that we cannot remove our character defects on our own. We pray for guidance, meditating on the issues we must face within ourselves. Using the honesty developed in earlier steps, we allow others to hold us accountable for the shortcomings we find most pressing. Not only do we seek to become unfettered from our primary defects of character, but we also pray to replace these defects with positive attributes that may allow us to become more useful to our fellow addicts and alcoholics.
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
When we made our inventory in Step Four, we came across many people we had harmed. Even when we had valid reasons to feel wronged by these individuals, we must now resolve to clean our side of the street. We make a list of everyone to whom we owe financial amends, admissions of guilt, or other reparations for our past misdeeds against them. After making our list, we go over it with our sponsor, determining whether any amends should be delayed or omitted. In most cases, however, we will be told to push ahead and begin clearing the wreckage of our past.
“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Most of the people we’ll refrain from including in Step Nine will be drug dealers or people with whom we’ve shared certain sexual indiscretions. As for everyone else, we must approach them with honesty and humility. We do not point fingers or attempt to displace blame. Instead, we must whole-heartedly demonstrate our contrition and ask how we can make things right. Unfortunately, not everyone will accept our amends. Some will refuse to forgive us no matter what we say or do. We must not let this discourage us from continuing down the list. Although not everyone will respect our new way of life, our spiritual recovery depends upon a thorough undertaking of this process.
“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
Step Ten is the first of what we call the “maintenance steps.” Having reached this point in our recovery, we continue taking action to overcome our character defects as they arise. We take inventory once every 24 hours, asking ourselves whether we harbored any resentments or performed any wrongdoings throughout the day. If we identify such an instance, we make amends as soon as possible. In addition to this daily inventory, we also take a spot-check inventory whenever we feel our negative emotions or various shortcomings beginning to crop up. As we continue taking these actions on a daily basis, we ensure consistent personal growth as we continue our journey of recovery.
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
The second maintenance step regards the spiritual side of our recovery. As we continue to take inventory, we also practice prayer and meditation on a daily basis. We do not use prayer simply to ask for the fulfillment of our desires, but rather to ask how we should conduct ourselves throughout the day. When we feel indecision, confusion, anger or other stifling emotions, we turn to our Higher Power for guidance. Upon receiving direction, we ask for nothing more than the strength of character required to do the right thing. If something does not work out in our favor, we rest easy knowing that we did our best. There is great freedom in surrender, and this is what we strive to achieve as we continue putting our faith in something greater than ourselves.
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
When we complete our initial journey through the 12 Steps, we should find ourselves experiencing a greater sense of enlightenment. Upon the realization of our spiritual awakening, we begin spreading the message of recovery to others. We may do this through sponsorship, or simply by taking service commitments that allow us to demonstrate the principles we have learned. Leading by example is the best way to carry the message, and we strive to do this with every action we take. We also continue to live one day at a time, realizing that we may need to revisit earlier steps from time to time. This is okay. We strive only for progress rather than perfection. Fortunately, as long as we continue working the steps, we will continue to find spiritual progress in abundance.