Welcome to part two:
Twin Rivers fully appreciates that most clients will balk at being given an AA Big Book which is why we are flexible when it comes to introducing the 12 step programme of recovery. We have literature that is not AA affiliated but assists clients in understanding the basic fundamentals, that addiction is highly destructive and that healing cannot be done on our own!
The 12-steps Can Also be Described in the Following Way:
- Acceptance – rejecting the denial and self-deception that accompanies addiction and realising that you needs help in order to recover.
- Hope – rather than being resigned to the hellish downward spiral of addiction, you come to the realisation that recovery is possible.
- Willingness – to get out of your own way in order to make recovery a possibility. For many the word “God” can be problematic, which is why the words “as we understood Him” is so important. God, also known as “Your Higher Power” does not have to be a deity, it can be the recovery process itself, professionals in the addiction field, the fellowship and the help you receive from other addicts or alcoholics. It can be something as simple as the sun that rises on another day free from addiction.
- Personal Inventory – before anyone can ever begin to attempt to change their destructive and addictive behaviours and attitudes they have to first know what needs to change. Not only is it about finding your weaknesses, but also about uncovering your strengths, and by knowing your strengths and weaknesses you can make better choices.
- Self-disclosure – Once an addict or alcoholic has taken an unflinching look at the harm their behaviour have done to themselves and others in their lives they can become tormented by that knowledge. Without productive relief that torment can lead to old and destructive ways of coping with the shame and guilt. When you unburden yourself of the weight of the past, you free yourself to move forward unimpeded. Confession is good for the soul.
- Reflection – Which is also part of the process of letting go of behaviours and attitudes that are holding you back. It is also part of a commitment to do the hard work that is required to change. It is not about perfection, it is about getting better.
- Humility – Many of your shortcomings are intertwined with your addictions, and just as addicts are powerless to overcome addiction, just so are all people powerless to overcome their shortcomings on their own. When you are humble you admit that your way of doing things do not work and that you are in need of help to overcome problems in your life.
- Amends List – In order to truly recover an addict needs to acknowledge the role they played in hurting others. When you become willing to repair the damage you have done, you reduce the destructive behaviours that pain, hurt and resentment causes. This takes courage and is a pivotal building block on the road of recovery. Making a list of the wrongs you have committed helps you to understand the importance of changing.
- Make Amends – An addict has to face those they have wronged. They have to take responsibility for the harm they have caused and try to make up for that harm. Often times the simple courage to apologize is a great leap to setting one free of the bonds of addiction. It is a starting point to clean up all the messes you may have left behind during active addiction. It allows every addicts and alcoholic to create a fresh start, owing nothing to an addictive past.
- Continued Inventory – This step is about continuous growth and vigilance. In essence it is about laying a foundation for a future of lasting recovery. When you are continually honest with yourself it is much easier to recognise triggers, behaviours and attitudes that could result in a relapse.
- Spiritual Growth – Recovery requires you to keep making a conscious effort to improve your understanding of the path that a Higher Power has for you. It is about sharing burdens, admitting wrongs, asking for help and expressing gratitude.
- Giving Back – Working with others who are still struggling is an amazing way to serve your recovery. It reminds you of where you once were, it keeps you accountable, it gives you a sense of purpose, it enhances your fellowship with others and it keeps you from becoming complacent in your own recovery.
Many addicts and alcoholics find themselves repeating the 12-steps over and again as a way of safeguarding their sobriety. It is important to realise that recovery requires life-long vigilance and work, one day at a time, for the rest of your life.
The fellowships that make use of the 12-steps give many a sense of belonging, encouragement and support. It is a program that is about honesty and growth, leading to lasting recovery.
The many fellowships that use the 12-steps are virtually everywhere, which means that you can get the vital support that you need whenever and wherever you need it, all across the world. Meetings are also free and the only requirement for membership is ‘A Desire To Stop’ your addiction/behaviour.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process