What Are the 12 Steps?

The 12 Steps to recovery were initially created by Alcoholics Anonymous as guidelines to overcome an addiction to alcohol, but they have since been adopted by other recovery programs to overcome practically any addictive behavior. You’ve probably heard about the 12 Steps even if you have no experience with drug and alcohol recovery programs, but you may not have heard exactly what those 12 steps are. Let’s take a look at them and what each one means.

Step One

The first of the 12 Steps is to admit that you are powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable because of it. In other words, it’s an acknowledgment that you need help to overcome your addiction.

Step Two

The second step is accepting that a power greater than yourself can restore your life and help you overcome your addiction.

Step Three

The third step is to turn your will and your life to the greater power in the previous step. The original 12 Steps written by Alcoholics Anonymous explicitly refer to this greater power as God, but the process itself is not meant to be religious. You don’t have to be a Christian or believe in God at all to participate in a 12-Step program.

Step Four

Step four is to take a fearless and moral inventory of yourself.

Step Five

Step five is admitting to yourself, another person, and God the exact nature of your wrongdoings. Again, you don’t have to be religious to participate in the 12 Steps. If you don’t believe in God or aren’t a Christian, you can still admit your wrongs to yourself and others.

Step Six

Step six is a willingness to turn yourself over to God and let Him remove the character defects that drove you to your addiction.

Step Seven

Step seven is to humbly ask God (or whatever you consider your greater power) to remove your shortcomings.

Step Eight

Step eight is to make a list of all the people who have been harmed by your actions. You must be willing to make amends with them whenever possible.

Step Nine

Step nine is to make direct amends with those you have harmed wherever possible except when it would hurt them or others.

Step 10

Step 10 is to continue to take inventory of yourself and promptly admit when you are wrong in any way.

Step 11

Step 11 is to improve your conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation. Again, this is still possible if you aren’t very religious. Think of it as a meditation on yourself and how you want to live your life going forward.

Step 12

Step 12 is intended to be the spiritual awakening that should come from following each of the previous steps. As you can guess, not everyone will complete all 12 steps at the same pace. The point of the 12 steps is to keep working on yourself and accepting the changes that you must make in your life. Due to the anonymous nature of many 12 Step programs, it’s impossible to state how effective this process really is, but many recovering addicts swear by it and say that it has helped them. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol and you think a 12 Step program will help, contact us today at 732-392-7311. We will be happy to provide you with any information you might need and find a suitable program for you.

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