The 12-step program is a faith-based recovery program typically offered to patients with co-occurring mental health and addiction problems. Although the program stresses spirituality, you do not need to believe in a higher power to participate. This program allows for self-growth, and members are encouraged to practice the 12-step principles during their time in a recovery program and beyond.
In fact, patients can truly succeed in transformation and healing with the 12-steps. By participating in this program, many addicts have someone to keep them accountable. They also have a support group to rely on after leaving rehab. What differentiates 12-step programs from other types of treatment is the aspect of a higher power governing life. Conscious contact with God gives patients higher success rates of sobriety.
Addiction can break many relational ties in a person’s life. This program can help patients heal those bonds and move forward with their lives.
The 12 principles of recovery, according to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) guidelines include:
- “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives have become unmanageable.”
- “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
- “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
- “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
- “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
- “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
- “Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.”
- “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
- “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
- “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
- “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.”
- “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Inside look to the 12 steps to recovery
Each of the 12-step principles corresponds to a moral characteristic that the program aims to cultivate and nurture. Taking a deeper look into what these characteristics do can benefit anyone wanting to learn more about this program. The following are the characteristics that the 12-steps aim to refine:
Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Without acceptance of your problem, there is no healing. When under the influence, many patients lose the ability to see the destruction they have caused by their behavior. Many addicts struggle with this step, because admitting there is a problem makes it real and means that there are wrongs that need to be rectified.
Faith and hope come hand in hand. Spiritual awakening and a belief in a higher power can give you the hope you need to move towards a faith-based recovery. Hope gives addicts the power to carry their burdens and guilt from their past.
In this step, patients learn to hand their lives over to the care of God. Surrender is putting your life at the mercy of God or a higher power. The best way to surrender for those who are religious is to lay at the feet of God and give up addition. This takes a sense of selflessness that is cultivated through faith.
Each of the 12 steps builds upon another. With honesty, hope, and surrender, patients gather their courage and write down every mistake they have made as a result of addiction. Living with the pain and growing from those mistakes takes courage.
Integrity tests your moral compass and challenges you to admit your wrongs. It tends to be difficult to admit that you alone are responsible for your actions, especially out loud. In order to start healing, patients must admit their wrongs to God, themselves and whoever else is helping them through recovery.
During step 6, patients accept that a higher spiritual or moral power helps shape their lives. This includes a willingness to admit to their mistakes past, present, and future. Additionally, it asks them to be ready to right past wrongs.
Patients who have humility go to their higher power knowing they are not worthy of healing. Yet, they know that God can bring healing of all kinds when the correct posture is taken. Humility is integral to healing from addiction, because it allows patients to recognize that they cannot practice these principles alone.
Making amends and letting go of grudges is a huge step for anyone to take. Pushing old anger aside allows room for patients to love people in a spiritual and healthy way.
In order to move forward, patients must recognize that they need forgiveness from those who they have wronged. Additionally, if their victims need time to heal, those in the 12-step program need to acknowledge that time and respect it.
Structure and commitment to the 12 steps are important and the patient must decide willingly to comply. This takes hard work and is a process that must be committed to every day in order to continue to practice these principles.
Awareness takes a lot of intentional prayer and meditation. Without the guidance of God or a higher power, it can be hard for members to see how they are in the wrong. It can also be difficult to know what steps to take after they have gone through the previous ten steps. Praying only for knowledge can make a difference in an addict’s life after the 12-step program.
Service entails bringing the 12-step principles into the community for current addicts to help find space for recovery. This includes continuing to practice the 12-step principles throughout your life, even after years of sobriety and recovery.
Applying the 12-step principles to real life
The values you learn from the twelve steps are long-lasting and applicable to life outside of a rehab center. One road to recovery becomes is through these twelve steps. If you continuously work through them, it is a great tool to change your life for the better.
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By seeking help with Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital, you have made the important first step in your journey towards a life focused on peace of mind and freedom from substance abuse (for those with dual diagnosis). We can help guide you the rest of the way — all you have to do is contact us.