The 12 Steps to Recovery

The Twelve Steps to Recovery

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Alcoholism is a serious issue that affects many people worldwide. It’s important to understand the steps necessary to achieve recovery from this devastating addiction. The Twelve Steps of alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are the most widely accepted roadmap to recovery from alcoholism. In this blog post, we will discuss The Twelve Steps of AA and how they can be used as part of the recovery process from alcohol abuse.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

This is the first step in the program. It is a way of identifying that we need help. Many people who abuse alcohol live in a state of denial about their addiction. By agreeing that they do not have power, they are able to move on to the next step.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

While AA is not affiliated with any particular religion, the organization believes it is important to identify your “greater power.” Even when we are able to recognize a higher power, we are adopting values such as faith and hope. Both of these qualities are important in recovery.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

This step involves surrendering our power and control over our addiction. When we are struggling with substance abuse, we keep our pride and power close to the vest. In letting this go, we are letting go of the part of ourselves that continues to keep us in bondage to our problems.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

While we shy away from our past mistakes and attempt to ignore them, it is important to relive the steps that took us to where we are now. This is not meant to be done in a scrutinizing or self-judgmental fashion. It should be done in a way that embraces curiosity toward the past. When we are able to examine our actions without fear of condemnation, we are more to unearth our motivations.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

This is an elaboration of the last step. It involves focusing on what made our actions hurtful or dangerous. It is not just saying that we did incorrect things, but figuring out exactly why we shouldn’t repeat these actions.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

When we have an addiction, we become accustomed to the chaos, loneliness, and shame that surround the habits. Those things naturally become a part of the addiction process because they make us feel continually justified in our substance abuse.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

When we grant permission for those defects to be taken from us, we are making room for a better version of ourselves. This letting go can be a frightening process, but it makes us amenable to evolving into a greater emotional and intellectual version of ourselves.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

As we heal from addiction, we become acutely aware of how our actions affected others. Whether our loved ones unconditionally forgive us or are holding us away, it is important for us to apologize to them. This ensures that we are writing our wrongs and cleaning our slate, regardless of others’ reactions.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.

Deciding to apologize to someone is one thing, but going through with the apology is another. It can be a scary process, but the important part is to convey the sincerity of the message.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

One of the signs of a healthy relationship is open communication. When we can properly address emotions either we are feeling or notice in the other party, we are partaking in actively communicating our emotions. This encourages an open dialogue. An open dialogue helps us resolve problems before they grow bigger.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

As we continue to heal from substance abuse, we must always keep our eyes open and aim high. When we work toward discovering truth and goodness, we are placing our minds and spirits in a healthier state of consciousness.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.

While we benefit from these steps, it also helps to walk with others as they take the same journey toward recovery. If we meet someone who is going through recovery or someone similarly struggling with addiction, we shouldn’t hesitate to offer a hand of support in helping them in recovery.

Recovery Found in The Twelve Steps

According to an article in the journal Primary Care, while the AA program is nonscientific, it has grown into a way for patients to experience change in attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. It is important to note that we cannot do this alone. We need support from family members, friends, and professionals in order to successfully complete the program.

At First Steps Recovery, we serve those seeking addiction treatment in the central valley area from Fresno to Clovis, California. Our program is led by trauma-informed staff using the latest evidence-based addiction treatments. All of our programs are tailored to the individual needs of each client. We are here to provide the necessary tools and resources needed to start the path of recovery.

The steps to recovery, no matter how many there are, take all your dedication and commitment. Fighting substance abuse will be the best and most rewarding decision of your life. However, it is hard to start and stay on the path by yourself. At First Steps Recovery, we recognize the need of those recovering from addiction. We go beyond treatment to provide for the emotional and physical needs of all our patients. Our facilities are prepared for each new client taking a step towards long-term sobriety. If you are struggling with addiction, please make the decision for yourself to seek help. Call First Steps Addiction at (844) 489-0836 for more information about how we can help you. 

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