The program that is used to create and sustain sobriety involves a number of concepts. Let’s look at then in the order they are presented:
Admittance (Step One) - We start to recover or heal when we are willing to admit that there’s something wrong. If a person is unwilling to face their particular issue it is next to impossible to help them.
Discover a God...as we understand him (Steps Two and Three) It is amazing to think that A.A. proclaimed, over sixty years ago, such a freeing and open concept. Our God, Higher Power or Source need not be religious. The Twelve Step program does not belong to any one religion or denomination, it is absent of any dogma or creed, and in this powerful sense it is seen to be a spiritual program.
Cleaning House (Step Four – Step Nine) Long before physicians and therapists began to talk about Wellness Programs, A.A. felt that it was necessary to direct alcoholics, who wished to recover, to free themselves of unhealthy attitudes or behaviors that were related to their drinking escapades. The arguments, lies, manipulations, sarcasm, violence...all need to be ‘cleaned up’ so that a new spiritual journey of living can begin. And it is certainly true that a new freedom is experienced when sincere amends are made and forgiveness is experienced. It just simply feels good.
The Journey Continues (Steps Ten and Eleven) Most addictions, personality defects and life challenges cannot be removed permanently; it’s not like a flu-germ that we can get rid of. Also The Twelve Step program, again ahead of it’s time, saw the value of utilizing prayer and meditation in the on-going healing process. Today, statistical surveys suggest that people who pray on a regular basis or engage in the art of meditation are more serene, healthy and at peace in their world. A.A. was suggesting this years ago! Wellness is recovery and recovery surely requires wellness.
A Spiritual Awakening (Step Twelve) The last principal that is reflected in The Twelve Step program suggests that after practicing the
(b) Discovering a God...as we understand Him,
(c) Cleaning House,
(d) Continuing the Journey
...we then experience a spiritual awakening. Something happens to us; we recognize that we have changed, we feel better, we are living (in all areas of our lives) the spiritual life. And this experience we need to share in service. The recovery paradox is affirmed:
If you want to keep a thing then you must be willing to give it away!
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