Monday, April 24, 2017

The Twelve Steps

Today we only have another week left of the April Blogging Challenge and the day for the letter T.  How are you doing? Still keeping up? Today is the letter T and I'd like to talk about the Twelve Steps.

According to Wikipedia, The twelve-step program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addictioncompulsion, or other behavioral problems. Originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a method of recovery from alcoholism, the Twelve Steps were first published in the 1939 book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism. The method was adapted and became the foundation of other twelve-step programs.

Over time other organizations have adopted these Steps as a basic self-help healing guide. From A.A. to N.A. down to the family oriented programs of Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. These programs are for
those of us who love someone addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

For those who attend you have most likely heard of them. Maybe you are taking them yourself. I am on Step #8 which is making amends to those I have hurt during my son's addiction to heroin. These steps are in no way required or mandatory to find healing and hope, but personally, it has helped me. If I am to help my son then I too must recover from the person that his disease has turned me into. To me, the steps have been like a spiritual awakening. 

A year ago this month I came out of society's stigma to ask for help. I was at the end of the road. I had done everything I humanly knew possible to help my son. Unbeknownst to me at the time of the memorial and the vigil were I was already standing on Step # One. The step that tells us that we are powerless over heroin and what it is doing to someone we love. Our lives have become unmanageable. 

As summarized by the American Psychological Associationthe process involves the following:
  • admitting that one cannot control one's alcoholism, addiction or compulsion;
  • recognizing a higher power that can give strength;
  • examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);
  • making amends for these errors;
  • learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
  • helping others who suffer from the same alcoholism, addictions or compulsions.

A poem I found which helps look at the guiding principals of the 12 Steps

What exactly are The Twelve Steps of Recovery?

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  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.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Of course over the years alternate wording has been added. These steps are not required of anyone to find recovery and should never be sold for personal gain. If in fact, a treatment center is treating this addiction solely on the twelve steps, then I suggest you seek another treatment facility. The 12 Steps is an ideology for recovery, not the treatment for it.

Treatment for this addiction should be paying more attention to the mental health aspects of the disease and not to the ideologies such as the steps. Not treating mental health issues associated with this disease is why a lot of facilities have a high failure rate and treatment is not successful.

There are 5 Things To Look for When seeking a Treatment Facility:

  1. Licensing and Accreditations
  2. Personally Tailored Care Each individual is different in their needs
  3. Ask what the success and failure rate is for the facility
  4. Dual Diagnosis which is treating the mental health issues of the addiction. The most common mental health issues of addiction are bi-polar disorders, PTSD, anxiety, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, and panic disorders. 
  5. After Care- After recovery What is Next?

True recovery from this addiction is about looking at why the person is addicted to drugs like heroin in the first place and changing the behavior pattern of those with addiction problems. Taking care of their emotional needs and preventing a relapse. The Twelve Steps can be looked at as the principals to go on and not the full scope of treatment. I hope this makes sense.

I hope you come back tomorrow to read my post, Under the Influence: Living Life on the Heroin Highway

Credits for this post
12 Steps Wiki
AA Poem Pinterest
Letter pic Blogging A-Z

© 2017 Gossip Girl

1 comment:

  1. This is the second time I'm stopping by your blog during the A to Z Challenge. Thank you for sharing all of this information - it's so important for people to know.

    Visiting from the A to Z Challenge. See My “T” post here: