What is the 12 step program?
The 12 step program was written by the Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s. The wording may seem old-fashioned , but the fact remains it has helped more alcoholics stay sober than any modern equivalent.
The 12 steps explained
- Admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.
Most addicts and alcoholics think they can control their addiction, this we call denial. One of our first tasks at ARC is to break this denial. Step one is the foundation of the recovery program.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
First we ‘came’, then we ‘came to’, then ‘we came to believe’. Many recoil at the idea they might be insane, but Einstein’s defines insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’
- Made a decision to turn our will over to care of God as we understood him.
Many an alcoholic has baulked at the word ‘God’, as people associate it with religion. At ARC we point out that our Higher Power is a God of OUR understanding. Some see the power of the group as their Higher Power, others may use the beauty of nature etc
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
This step requires looking in the mirror, and seeing who we really are. It can be painful, but hugely rewarding. The ‘Big Book’ of AA calls it ‘clearing away the wreckage of our past’.
5, Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
The act of confession to a trusted person goes back thousands of years. What a relief it can be to unburden ourselves. You are as sick as your secrets.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Acknowledge your faults, and become willing to change.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 6 can be seen as the actions we take that we shouldn’t, Step 7 is the actions we are not taking , that we should !
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Honesty is the key to this step
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Sounds scary? A sponsor will guide you to ‘clean house’ and reap the rewards.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
A daily check up from the neck up
- 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 journey of spiritual growth continues
- 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.
Pass it on. To keep what we have acquired we need to give it away !
Modern Interpretation of the 12 steps
In recent years, it has been observed that the religious connotations expressed within the original 12 step program were a hindrance for many people to be helped by it.
ARC utilises a modern interpretation to the program to be able to assist clients to gain the most benefit from it in a non-religious and non-dogmatic way. The program is used as one part of an integrative program to guide clients on the path of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction in our Addiction rehabilitation centre.
How is the 12 step program applied to other forms of addiction?
As all addiction is formed from an emotional root leading to an ingrained pattern of behaviour, the principles of the program can be used to help people overcome all forms of addiction. It is our experience that the 12 step program is most effective when used in conjunction with personal therapy to help overcome addiction.