You might think that the 12-step program is meant to keep you sober. Although that’s a basic truth, they are also meant to help you transform your life. Essentially, the 12-step program is meant to facilitate an entire transformation of who you are.
If you think about it, that’s what’s required. If you want to get sober and stay that way, you’ve got to change your lifestyle, friends, thinking, and choices. You’ve got to think about yourself and your life in a new way. You’ve got to relate to people differently. And most importantly, you’ve got to relate to yourself in a healthy and loving way.
In fact, if you take a few of the 12-steps below, you’ll see that they encourage a new way of life that includes the presence of a higher being as well as repairing your life.
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God
Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Step Seven: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
In general, these 12 steps are essentially a program designed to assist the freedom from addiction. The steps include recognizing a powerlessness to substances, making amends with yourself and others, and as mentioned above, establishing a connection with a higher power. With this program, AA has been incredibly successful in facilitating sobriety in millions of people.
Although the whole idea of using spirituality might turn you away, you might find that it becomes the key to the program. Although you might be turned off by having to make a list of your character defects, you might find that by doing so you recognize why some of your relationships aren’t easy. Although you might not like admitting powerlessness, doing so might relieve you of feeling responsible for the addiction.
It’s true that at first you might not warm up to the 12 steps and all that it invites you to do, but if you’re set on staying sober, then recognize that you’re going to have to change your life. And once you realize that it is this program that has worked for millions of others, then you might be okay with allowing the 12 steps to facilitate your new life.