A Breakdown of the 12-Step Program

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the most well-known support groups for people recovering from addiction. They have been around for decades and are regarded as an effective way to navigate addiction recovery. All over the world, support groups and treatment centers use the blueprint of these programs to facilitate their recovery programs. The most notable part of this program is the 12-step process we have all heard about. Although we see it often in the media, there is little context behind the 12 steps. Here is a breakdown of the 12-step program

What Are the 12 Steps and What Do They Mean?

The 12 Steps were popularized by the Alcoholics Anonymous group in 1935. It was created to help people overcome their alcoholism. This program is heavily based on religion and spirituality, with mentions of God in the original version created by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. While the original version of this program specifically mentioned God, it has since been revised to be a person’s understanding of God. 

Here are the 12 recovery steps and a deeper description of what they mean. 

1. Admit Powerlessness

In the first stage of recovery, participants are encouraged to admit their lack of control over their lives. They acknowledge that they are powerless over drugs or alcohol. This step can be particularly challenging for some to believe and recognize. After a long stretch of denial, admitting powerlessness is the ultimate way to start the journey to recovery. 

2. Have Faith in a Higher Power

In this step of the program, individuals accept that there is a higher power than themselves. If a person does not believe in God, this does not have to be their higher power. However, having faith in a higher power allows perspective and can generate a sense of accountability. 

3. Surrender to Your Higher Power

After accepting that there is a higher power, the third step focuses on surrendering to it or him. In this step, participants decide to let go and turn their will and lives over to the care of their understanding of God. 

4. Soul Searching 

The fourth step is to look inward. This involves looking within oneself and assessing what is found. When captivated by an addiction, soul searching is the last thing on the to-do list. However, soul searching in recovery helps transform individuals into who they want to be. 

5. Admit to Wrongdoings

Step five of the program is all about integrity. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the program, as people are forced to be vulnerable and admit to their faults. Many people are afraid of this step because of fear of judgment. 

6. Be Ready to Make Positive Changes 

In this stage of the 12-step program, individuals are encouraged to accept that everyone has good and bad traits. They are prompted to tell difficult stories about themselves and accept their history. This allows people to prepare for the positive changes to come. 

7. Ask A Higher Power to Remove Shortcomings

Asking a higher power for help can take some weight off a person’s shoulders. Whether this step is done through prayer or meditation, participants are faced with their own humility, which is a massive part of their transformation. 

8. Make a List of the People You Have Harmed

This step is pretty straightforward. Making a list of people who have been harmed or hurt due to addiction will force participants to reflect on their past actions. Addiction often affects more than one person. It can ruin friendships and close relationships. This step compels participants to address the ways in which they have hurt others. The willingness to participate in this step shows that a person is genuinely ready to make amends. 

9. Make Amends

Making amends involves apologizing to the list of people who have been harmed. This stage goes both ways. This also means letting go of the resentment one might hold for people who have hurt them in the past. Repairing broken relationships will take more than one conversation. However, this step is critical to the start of that process. 

10. Conduct an Ongoing Personal Inventory

In this stage, participants vow to hold themselves accountable for their words and actions moving forward. While they have already admitted to their wrongdoings, they accept that no one is perfect and that it is likely that they will make mistakes again in the future. Keeping a personal inventory means participants will note their behaviors, whether good or bad, apologize when necessary, and then move on. 

This stage can also be called maintenance, as an ongoing personal inventory is something that is maintained even after the 12 steps are completed. 

11. Make Constant Improvement

The eleventh step is about maintaining an ongoing relationship or connection with a higher power. In this stage, the higher power helps discover where a person should be. In other words, what their plan is for their life. 

This step is dedicated to showing that recovery is not a straight road. There will be bumps in the road, but as long as constant improvements are made, lifelong recovery is possible.

12. Share Your Knowledge With Others 

The final step of the 12-step process is all about action. The twelfth step is a lifelong commitment to apply everything that has been learned to maintain a brighter future where lifelong sobriety is the goal. Not only does the person in recovery apply this knowledge to their own lives, but they also pay it forward to help others. 

Start Your Recovery Journey at the Encino Detox Center

A 12-step program at The Encino Detox Center can be just what you need to change your life. Having a group of people to relate to can significantly change how successful your recovery is. Making the decision to be better begins here. If you want to learn more about our 12-step program and the community that we have created, contact our team now to learn more and get started.

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