12 steps to change

12 Step Programs: An Action Program, You Can’t Think Yourself Sober

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

More than likely nobody would be taking the time to read this article if we hadn’t positioned ourselves to a point of needing help or advice from somebody with similar struggles who had also doused their life in kerosene and struck a match. Far too often, the bulk of us were living the dream and partying hardy all day every day. The actuality of the situation is that it’s not a party if it happens every day and every night. We were having a little bit of innocent fun so it seemed, and before we know it, we were sucked into this whirlwind of a tornado going nowhere quickly. It sucked us right in and whipped us about until eventually, we become one with the tornado. This is addiction at its finest. This is more than life just spitting a few bad hands of cards at us. This is more like the dealer has disappeared and we are now out of chips, in debt, and also just lit this place in flames too. This scenario is often the case for addicts and alcoholics in active use. It’s not until we are able to admit defeat and inquire about some help that we discover the life changing process of recovery and sobriety. It’s not until finding these that we march our boots right into the rooms of some sort of 12 step program or another.

Upon admitting defeat and walking into the rooms of one of the many anonymous programs, this is when the real resolution and growth begin to take place. Life will miraculously change once we have sobered up and put a bit of work into it. It is here that we are taught of the ailment we suffer from and why we obsess about things in life like we do. When I say “we”, I’m talking of course of us addicts and alcoholics that require some form of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to keep thriving in regular everyday society. No, it is not always fun or exciting, but what is exciting is that it keeps us alive day after day from this deadly disease.  

Just a Bit of Work   

One would be lying if they said that entering a 12 step program was simple. Yet, one would be lying if they said entering such would be tricky. Life can be viewed at in the same perspective in that it’s neither easy nor difficult. It’s all about finding a healthy balance and taking action when appropriate. Of course, with this pesky disease, you have to want the sobriety more than it wants you to get intoxicated. The thing with this illness is that it never goes away regardless of age, race, gender, creed, or sexual identity. So in order to combat it properly, the addict or alcoholic has to be constantly vigilant and on their toes. This means working the 12 steps on a daily basis and staying ahead of the game. Chemical dependency is very much like an old Lewis Carroll quote referring to ‘Wonderland’-and it goes, “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that”. This old quotation is very pertinent to how addiction works and how we must always make our recovery a way of life.

12 step meeting

Recovery becomes the top priority in our lives because it teaches us wisdom and keeps us running twice as fast. It is through practicing the 12 steps and entering some form of a fellowship that we become people again. Yes, as active addicts and alcoholics we were people still, but we were shells of the human beings we had the potential to be. You see, it’s here in the rooms that we learn about introspection and selflessness. We begin taking a look at our faults (something nobody really enjoys), and we commence the changing of our ways. We develop different relationships and begin to glow with happiness as the tormenting substances become a thing of the past. Entering a 12 step program ends up being one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves.

Doing all of this will give the addict or alcoholic a life beyond their wildest dreams, but it doesn’t come with the flick of a wrist. Action has to be taken and patterns have to be broken. Obviously, without question, the substances have to be out of the picture. All the drugs and booze are the culprit for feeding the nasty monster that our addiction/alcoholism is. Ridding the intoxicants out of our lives and systems will already begin the improvement process. This part is non-negotiable when beginning to work a 12 step program of sorts. It starts to reduce down to being honest, open minded, and willing in our ways. As we implement these morals and values into our life, the changes being brought forth become apparent. Things all around begin to improve as we make the changes happen. At this point, it all becomes butterfly effect and life gradually gets better and better as we persevere on the path of righteousness.

The catch is that we can’t just wake up one day and decide to be sober. Dropping the substances for true addicts and alcoholics requires going to Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous meetings. It requires getting a sponsor, working the 12 steps of your specific anonymous program, changing old habits and finding a new routine. It requires a daily look at yourself as you practice being selfless and helping out others in need. It requires action, which at the end of the day is more or less just being a better individual and making the conscious effort to do so. It’s amazing what somebody can accomplish when they truly put their mind to it.

In Need of Some Action?  

The truth of the matter is that we all have our ups and downs- this is part of the human experience. For some of us, though, we deal with a mental restriction known to be addiction/alcoholism. It takes a very firm grip on your life and makes most aspects unmanageable as your left feeling powerless. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-844-489-0836 or visit www.firststepsrecovery.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all proudly stand behind.

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