I have been working at the Twelve Steps for nearly 20 years. Why the Twelve Steps, you may ask? What did it do for you? Can I get anything out of them?
The Twelve Steps changed my life from living a dual life of my addict and the person I showed the world to help me be my true authentic self. I think anyone, whether they are an addict or not, can change their life by working the Twelve Steps.
So, what are the Twelve Steps?
"We admitted we were powerless over addictive compulsive behavior, that our lives had become unmanageable."
Step One is about realizing we are powerless over our addiction. We may have tried to stop on our own but came back to that addiction or another to help soothe the pain of our lives. We medicated something in our lives with our addictions. Our lives had become unmanageable because we could not solve our problems with our addiction. We needed help.
"Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
Step Two is about understanding that we cannot solve our problems on our own. We may have tried many times to quit, but we need help. For some, that is a God or deity. For others, it is finding a power greater than ourselves which may be a group conscience, nature, or anything else outside of ourselves.
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God."
Step Three is about understanding that we need to turn our will over to this Higher Power. We need to move away from self-will and let our Higher Powers will help us. Also, this is just a decision to do it. This may be a process that we come to as we work through the other steps.
"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
Step Four is about understanding who we are. What are our fears, resentments, character defects, assets, and whom we harmed? This may have been the first time we have ever really looked at who we are and what drives us. This is a challenging step. Many get stuck on this step because they may need help on steps two and three to start to find the humility to work this step.
"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."
Step Five is about telling someone about what we found in Step Four. We have to have the courage to admit these things to ourselves, our Higher Power, and another person.
"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
Step Six is about admitting we need to change and are ready to have our Higher Power help us remove these character defects. But we need to do our part as well. Do something different, do the next right thing.
"Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings."
Step Seven is to find the humility to understand that we cannot do this alone and that we need help.
"Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all."
Step Eight is about looking at our lists of people we harmed in Step Four and others we have thought about since working Step Four and being willing to make amends to them. Making amends means taking responsibility for our actions and making things right.
"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
Step Nine is about making those amends either directly or indirectly where needed.
"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step Ten is about taking an inventory of our actions and applying the steps to rectify the error. This can be daily, weekly, or monthly or when we need it.
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out."
Step Eleven is about connecting with our Higher Power. Many do this by praying, meditating, or talking with others to understand that we are not always right. Self-will can get us in a lot of bad situations.
"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives."
Step Twelve is about carrying this message of how the steps can help others. Living our lives according to the principles we learned while working the steps.
These are the steps in a short form. Come back to this blog to learn more about each step. As I said earlier, working on these steps can benefit addicts and non-addicts. But for those that have been hurt and betrayed by an addict need to work through the trauma caused by the addict before they can find recovery by working through the steps.