What are the 12 Steps of Alcoholism?

Hi my name is John and I’m an addict. This is what I’ve been saying for the past 52 days of being in treatment. I say this before I share something about myself that I normally wouldn’t share because I want to appear invulnerable. Admitting to others that I’m an addict is not the first step contrary to popular belief. The first step is admitting to myself that im an addict and my life has become unmanageable. There, that wasn’t hard. Whats next? Came to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.

Okay, I mean I believe there is a higher power out there. It’s hard for me to deny. But how is this power going to restore me to sanity? I don’t know but for now I’ll do what I have to do to stay sober. So sure, a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. Now, step 3, turning my will over to the care of God as I understood him. I mean, how do you do that? Well if you open to page 417 of the big book there lies your answer. Acceptance is the key to all my problems. Not trying to change anything that I can’t control right now. So,

God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

That is the serenity prayer. Your going to need that before proceeding to step 4. Made a searching inventory of ourselves. This step starts out great but then it gets hard. Its easy to make a list of all that has harmed me. Its easy to say what they’ve done to us. Its hard, very hard to see what part we played in it. How was I selfish, dishonest, self seeking, and fearful? Selfish, what the fuck you mean? How was I selfish when 3 people got together and beat my ass until I was on the ground crying, for no reason? This is where your sponsor will say, well, how did you selfishly hold onto this moment? Did do it to others because you thought if it was done to you then why not do it to someone else? Did you go home and beat the dog with a newspaper because you felt inadequate for something that happened to you years prior?

Ok thats done, phew, step 5, admitted to ourselves, God and one other person, the exact nature of our wrongs. What? I know i have been an asshole in my life, God knows I’ve been an asshole but does someone else really need to know? Step 6, became willing to humbly ask God to remove our character defects. Done. A prayer to humbly ask God to remove our character defects. Easy, done. Step 8, made a list of all people we harmed so that we can make ammends. Uh oh.

Step 9, made amends to the people we harmed. Okay. So. You want me to go into Walmart and apologize for something I stole? No, your sponsor would say. I want you to go into Walmart. Tell them how you wronged them, and ask how you can make it right. I could go to jail. Those who will recover must adhere to this simple program. I think they forgot its not so simple.

Step 10 continued to take daily inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Well, that would be easier than making a lot of amends all at once I guess. Step 10 is a daily step 4.

Step 11, find the power from God to carry out your life’s purpose so you can help others. Now step 12 help other addicts suffering from the disease of addiction. After completing this step it is said that you will have some sort of spiritual experience.

These steps are great for addicts and alcoholics. Its not the only way to get sober but its a softer easier approach than maybe, jail. They say in this program if you get clean without the steps than you are depending solely on your will power and you will be miserable without drugs or alcohol.

These steps can be useful to “norms" too. You know others who are not alcoholic. You could use these for other addicting behaviors such as binge eating. They can also be therapeutic or change perspectives of people who are upset often because the world doesn’t revolve around them.

If anyone is struggling with addiction there is help out there. If you are willing to stop do your best to figure out how you can get this help. Make small daily goals such as getting insurance. You are loved!


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