About: 12-step Program
The twelve-step program is a series of guiding principles drafting the process of rehabilitation from alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsion or other behavioural problems. The program was initially introduced by Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) as a recovery approach from alcoholism, in the 1939 book ‘Alcoholics Anonymous: The story of how more than one hundred men have recovered from alcoholism’. The program has since substantiated as the basis of other twelve-step programs.
How does it help?
Most drug addiction treatment programs advocate for patients to participate in group therapy in the course of and after formal treatment. These groups present a supplementary tier of community-level social support to facilitate people in addiction recovery and other healthy lifestyle goals.
The 12 steps
Facing the problem
Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
– The foundation of recovery is acknowledging the issue, the external support available and the compliance to utilise it. Acknowledging that there is a prevailing problem and facing it may pose as a difficulty, but it creates awareness for the person and confessing it to others enforces the issue.
Step 2: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
– The recognition of the life-threatening addiction over which you are vulnerable allows the patient to be susceptible only to a daily reprieve. Now with a modicum of belief, one attains a readiness to seek a power beyond oneself. That power could be a therapist, the therapy group, the therapy process or a spiritual power.
Step 3: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
– Group support is vital in emphasizing new behaviour, as the emotions evoked by these adjustments are very compelling and can impede or even arrest recovery. The anxiety and resistance may be so powerful that the addict or abuser may revert back to the addiction.
– This step is about the practice of letting go and turning it over. As faith develops, so does the ability to let go and move toward more functional behaviour
Inventory and Building Self-Esteem
Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
– With a little more awareness, self-discipline, and belief, one is ready to evaluate their past. It necessitates a comprehensive examination of one’s experiences and relationships with an understanding toward discovering patterns of dysfunctional emotions and behaviour.
Step 5: “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
– Being aware of what was done wrong and admitting it are two very different things. A major step that happens after acknowledging an issue is accounting to your faults. Each participant in the program has to review his/her past and present situations as well as establish any faults that he/she has. By acknowledging the problems, the group and the individual can attempt to resolve them.
Self-Acceptance and Transformation
Step 6: “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
– This step emphasizes the psychological development of personal transformation that evolves throughout recovery, and embodies a further progress of self-acceptance, the key to change. Progress will only occur when one gives up in terms of control and search for a source beyond oneself.
Step 7: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
– In this step, transformation of our personality occurs in us, upon us, but not by us. It has come to a point of acceptance that initiates a fundamental transformation of which we are the object, not the subject.
Compassion of Others
Step 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”
– Making a list of all the people harmed by the addiction and being willing to try to make amends, a participant is accepting responsibility and understanding what has been wrong in his/her life.
Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
– In many cases, admitting you are wrong, apologising and informing a person that you are getting help is enough to attain that person’s support. Nonetheless, there are instances where people are gravely hurt or are situated in a position where an apology or making amends would aggravate the situation. Through the group, decisions can be made as to who will be best served by trying to make amends and who will be more hurt by it.
Tools for Growth
Step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
– Major part of the program is to continue to take responsibility for your actions. If you fall back into drinking, it is important to stop and admit. Relapses are normal, and the group can be supportive while you are healing. Admitting trouble with quitting, or with other aspects of your life, are not signs of weakness, it is meant to help keep participants on track to a healthier lifestyle.
Step 11: “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 he power to carry that out.”
– Regardless of religion or if the person is religious, this allows him/her to have quiet time to reflect on the day, what has happened and the things that is needed to enrich his/her life. This strengthens the self, increases honesty and awareness, improves mood, promotes new behaviour and reduces the anxiety accompanying change.
Step 12: “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.”
– This step develops compassion and lessens self-centeredness. Communicating to others what we have learned is self-reinforcing. The main point of this is to help others seek help when they need it and sometimes to give the participant someone else to feel responsible for, as this can help them focus on more positive aspects of life.