Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Step Model
If you think you may have a problem with alcohol or other substances, you’ve probably heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step model for recovery. However, as much as you’ve heard people refer to “going on a 12-step plan” for everything from addiction to dieting, do you know what the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous are and how the 12 steps work? Let’s go through them one by one.
1. Admitting You Have an Unmanageable Problem
Most alcoholics have difficulty admitting that they even have a problem, let alone that they are powerless to stop drinking or even slow down. Taking the first step is often the hardest thing that an alcoholic can do.
2. Believe That a Greater Power Can Restore Your Sanity and Life
According to the AA model, people with an alcohol addiction must look to a higher power outside themselves for help in recovery. They do not define that higher power as any particular deity, and participants are free to define it in a way that suits them.
3. Making the Decision to Turn Your Life Over to That Higher Power and Understand It
Some people in AA will define this higher power as God, while others will devote themselves to whatever definition they’ve set for this power, such as the universe in general.
4. Make a Fearless Moral Inventory of Yourself
This is another difficult step for a lot of people, as it involves honest self-examination, which can be uncomfortable. However, identifying regrets and negative feelings associated with alcohol will help in the recovery process.
5. Admitting to the Higher Power, to Yourself, and to Others What You’ve Done Wrong
At this point, you’ll admit past behaviors to yourself and others. You may share with people in your meeting or only with your sponsor, depending on your level of comfort at this point.
6. Become Ready to Let the Higher Power Remove All of These Character Defects
In this step, you’ll admit that you’re ready to move forward, away from your past and the defects that came with alcoholism.
7. Humbly Ask the Higher Power to Remove Your Shortcomings
Whether you’re impatient, angry, apathetic, or you have other negative character traits that hold you back, you’ll ask your higher power for help in removing them from your character.
8. Make a List of Everyone Your Alcoholism Has Harmed and Get Ready to Make Amends
Prepare yourself to talk with the people you’ve hurt in the past and to truly make amends to them.
9. Directly make Amends to All of Those You Can Reach Whom You’ve Hurt in the Past
If reaching out to someone you’ve hurt with your alcoholism would hurt them further, then you shouldn’t directly contact them. For all others, do whatever you can to make up to them the harm you’ve done.
10. Continue Taking Personal Inventory and Admit Whenever You’re Wrong
This step will take a continued commitment to monitoring yourself and your behavior to stay on track and live a sober and healthy life.
11. Improve Conscious Contact With the Higher Power Through Prayer and Meditation
Commit to regular spiritual practice and continue to try to understand the higher power you’ve chosen.
12. Spread the Message to Other Alcoholics and Those in Need
As participating in AA has helped you, you should seek to help others.
These are the 12 steps, and understanding them should give you a better understanding of whether or not this model is right for you in your recovery or if you are looking for a rehab facility with an alternative approach.
Tags: Substance Rehab