Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can be a daunting task. Going without a hit or a drink for even a few hours can seem stressful, intimidating, and miserable. But the important thing to note is you can do it. Just like any successful endeavor in our lives, it takes a proper plan of action and some commitment, but you can do it. The purpose of the 12-step program is simply to outline the process for you in a proven way that’s helped millions of people. The 12 steps really do work if you’re committed to changing your life for the better.
The 12 step plan is outlined in the Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) “Big Book,” essentially a primer for how to own your recovery. The 12-steps is a series of tenants on how to take accountability for your health and recover what you’ve lost through addiction, whether it’s health, friends, family, or trust.
One basic goal of the 12-step program is to make a “moral inventory” of yourself. What is your greatest features? Your success? What are your weaknesses or failings? Substance abuse is never a solitary incident. It often stems from deep social or personal struggles. It brings with it a tide of negative symptoms, life experience, and makes you prone to bad or dangerous decisions that further affect your health and social well-being.
Once you understand your strengths and shortcomings, you have to take the first steps into how you’ll fix them. Many of us have tried and failed at recovery, and in large part because we either try to go at it alone, or surround ourselves with people who have different goals than ourselves. Whether you are inspired by God, by family, or friends, you have to find accountability within yourself and with others to succeed.
The public has recognized that addiction often means a lack of control, it’s a disease that influences your decision-making abilities. However, those in recovery have to accept that they are ultimately accountable for their health, and the decisions needed to overcome addiction.
That’s why the next tenant is to develop a circle of accountability. Create a union between you and accountability partners in AA or other treatment programs. Create a union with God, or with your ideal self. Commit to becoming who you want to be, accomplishing the life goals that were scattered by your addiction, and fixing so many of the problems that were born from the disease.
Once you’ve committed, developed accountability, and created a plan of action for your recovery, it’s important to prepare for the transition back to a life without the security of a recovery home. You must make an inventory of the people besides yourself who have been affected by your addiction, and admit your shortcomings to yourself, and if possible, to them. From this new and open honesty, you can have the pride and acceptance to move forward into a healthy, successful recovery.
In the end, the 12-step program really can work for many people. It may take time and practice, but with a guiding hand you can make it through. To learn more about the 12-step program, and other recovery options, please call Experience Recovery directly at (800)970-3973.
If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.