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An Overview of the 12 Steps in Sobriety

If you’ve gone to any type of recovery resource program center, you’ll hear (quite frankly) a strong suggestion and recommendation to do the Steps of Recovery. So I’m going to do my best to provide a five minute psycho-education on what this is, how it can benefit you and why it’s worth a try.

Types of 12-Step Programs

There are a lot of various 12-step programs out there. We have Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, they even break it down to specific drugs for people to really be able to identify. So Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous. But they also have it for things that are related to our emotions, like emotional sobriety. They have Codependents Anonymous, which I strongly suggest anyone who struggles with a loved one that you continue to enable to go give it a try. They have Al Anon which is for family members, children, parents, spouses, siblings of those who are struggling with addiction. They have things that are related to other addictive processes like gambling or sex or smoking. And what some of you might not know is you think, “Hey, those 12 step programs are good for those people that are dealing with something.” All 12 steps, except the first half of the first step, are identical. So the first half of the first step says, “I am powerless over…” and it’ll say the drug or the behavior or the person and that “my life has become unmanageable.” The rest of it’s all the same. So what it’s trying to say is that it works for all types of people.

Spirituality in Sobriety

And so what are the benefits and what are the 12 steps?  I’m not going to read them one by one but I’ll summarize them together so you have a better understanding of it. So if I do the 12 Steps how is that going to help my life? Fair enough! 

The first three steps, steps one, two and three, they help you get connected to a power, a source that is not only greater than yourself but also can restore your sanity, which means your soundness of mind. Most people who come to these types of spaces are really struggling with their sanity. They feel like they’re losing it, they’re making bad decisions despite knowing the opposite would be better. They’re struggling with the fact that they feel lost, lonely, afraid in this giant thing called this planet Earth. The first three steps allow us to not only disconnect ourselves from thinking that we’re the master of this whole thing and everything revolves around us, to understanding that there are powers that are much greater than the self. Now some people choose to call that God and there’s nothing wrong with that, if that word resonates with you, if that word fulfills you, and you can connect to that word feel free to. But if that’s a word that you’re like, “Hey, I’m not into this whole God thing,” that’s okay because there are different ways to tap into resources and powers and energies that are much greater than yourself during difficult times. I mean the collective group of people like this group that’s watching this right now, I don’t know 20 people watching this right now, is greater than one person. There’s more wisdom, more energy, more experience, more knowledge, more solutions when it comes to the group. You don’t have to go through it alone anymore. You tap into the power of the group, you ask for support. Maybe for some people it’s nature. I mean there is high medicinal value and therapeutic value in just being connected to nature. Go stand in front of an ocean, watch the waves crash, hear them crash, feel the Sun. That’s way more powerful and great and mysterious than your own thoughts and feelings. Go underneath the canopy of majestic trees in the forest that are breathing living life forces and feel the relief you get when you’re under that magnitude of nature. Go in the desert, stare at the stars and look at the artwork that exists inside this thing called space, the countless stars that are just painted perfectly up there. So the first three steps help you connect to all that because you need that support. You need that to not feel alone and scared in this thing called life, especially when you’re going through painful situations, traumatic experiences, a loss of self for a long time.

Get Right with Yourself

Steps four, five, six and seven make you right with yourself. I always say when you look in the mirror do you recognize the person looking back at you? If the answer is no, four, five, six and seven is going to help you get a clear and crystal view of the person in the mirror. You sit down and you do this thing called an inventory. Sounds scary but it’s really not. You sit down, you write down all the resentments you have in life, the people, places, things, institutions, principles, whatever the heck you resent in life, all the way back. And then you find out what kind of harms you’ve caused to people. I mean, that can always happen. What, how have I harmed these people? You look at some of your behavior when it comes to relationships and all that kind of stuff. And you really start to get a full comprehensive view of how you’ve impacted life and how life has impacted you. And once you write all that down you go and you share it with another person. For some people it might be the first time they ever have and it’s like this because once you share it with another person it becomes real. But guess what, it also loses its power because when it’s inside your mind just for years and decades it starts to get really, really dark and tainted and nasty.

Know Your Character, Values, Assets

And then six and seven, man you’re looking at your character defects. You’re looking at the things in life you want to change. You’re looking at your assets, things that are good about you, identify those. Sometimes we forget the good we have in us when we’re going through a hard time. The good values, the good character traits, the good qualities, the beautiful parts that make your assets. So the four, five, six and seven makes you right with yourself.

Make Right with Others

Eight and nine, what does it do? Step eight and nine, it makes you right with others. You make a list of all the people you’ve harmed in life and you become willing to go make amends to them. And then whenever the time’s right, whenever the time arises, whenever the opportunity is just right, you reach out to those people, you meet with them, you call them, you write a letter, just randomly see them in a grocery store, and you make amends for what you’ve done, and you ask them the following question. “What can I do to make it right?” Whatever they say that’s the amends process. Sometimes the amends goes really, really well and sometimes it might not but you’re not doing it for them. You’re doing it for you. Hopefully it goes well so that both people feel reciprocated. But sometimes people might say, “I don’t want your amends but at least you did your part.” So it leaves three steps here. 

Stay on the Journey

Steps 10, 11, and 12. They’re also known as maintenance steps. Step 10, you continue to take daily inventory of yourself, very similar to step four, but just a mini version of it. It’s not about your whole life and your whole past. It’s just about your day. “Was I resentful, selfish, dishonest, afraid? Do I owe anyone an apology? Is there anything that I got to go clean up and fix?” So you continue to stay clean with yourself. It’s kind of like tiding up the house. Step 11, through prayer and meditation you try to stay in constant contact with that Source, the Infinite Source, and it’s a maintenance step. It’s a maintenance step to stay connected. And number 12, you go and help another human being out. After you learn all these steps you go give it to someone else. It continues to keep us right with the world with others.

Benefits of the 12 Steps

So the reason why people say, “do these steps, they help,” is because it makes you right with a greater power that’s actually going to help you through some dark times, whether that’s people or the universe or God of your understanding. 4, 5, 6 make you right with yourself, 8 and 9 make you right with others, the maintenance steps maintain all those. So that’s the steps in a nutshell. Whenever family members get frustrated they say, “Hey, I don’t know, my kid’s not going to meetings. He’s not doing steps.” My thing is like, “Well, do you go to meetings and do you do steps?” And they’re like, “No, it’s not for me.” “Alright, well, you know what, your kid thinks it’s not for them.” I’m not saying everybody’s got to do this and live it forever. I’m just saying try it for one time because there’s also something that we learned in the program, and it says ‘contempt prior to investigation.’ So some people knock things down before they even try them and I get the reasoning behind it, but it’s fair to give something a shot.

Call Buckeye Recovery Today!

Are you in recovery but not making progress? Recovery is not only possible but attainable, and it all begins with reaching out for assistance. By addressing both addiction and mental health issues, individuals can break free from the cycle of despair and embark on a path to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact Buckeye Recovery Network today and initiate your journey to recovery and improved mental health. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.