Certain people often have a very negative opinion of anyone who is suffering from an addiction. It is seen as a lack of willpower and addicts are viewed as being selfish and putting themselves ahead of everyone else. In truth, addiction is a physical problem and it is a disease of the brain. For sufferers, this is a life long battle as the compulsion to drink or take drugs will always be there regardless of how long the addict has been clean.
Years ago, even medical professionals viewed addicts in a negative light and there were very few avenues of help available. Now thank goodness, it is the 21st century and opinions have changed drastically. There are now many different avenues of help available to people addicted to substances from nicotine and alcohol all the way up to the more illicit and illegal drugs. The twelve step program which which was developed and is used by self help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous has proved to be extremely popular and the optimum choice for recovering addicts who wish to avoid to necessity a stay in a rehabilitation center.
The most obvious thing about the program is that there are 12 steps and each one is imperative to get the end result. It is not recommended to skip any of the steps but it is also possible to take a step or two backwards at times. There is no saying how long a person will need to spend on the program and indeed many people stay as members for life as they find that helping other addicts through the program helps them to stay on the straight and narrow.
The first step of the program is to admit that you have no power and you have lost control of your addiction and have let it hold power over you for a long time. Next is recognizing that there is some type of higher power. This is not necessarily “God” but it is whatever you personally believe in and that this power can give you the strength you need to overcome your addiction. Another step is to take a look at some past mistakes you may have made and the choices you made which have led you into your current situation. Once you have done this you can begin making amends for the mistakes you have made in the past and start to rebuild relationships that may have been damaged due to your addiction and make things better. This step may take some time so don’t expect miracles overnight. The group will be there to support you through all stages but it is important to bear in mind that some relationships may have been permanently damaged and be beyond repair.
Towards the end of the program, you will start to learn how to live a new life without drugs and away from other bad behaviors. Once this has been achieved you can share your experiences with other addicts and help those to achieve all you have done.
What are the 12 steps to recovery
These are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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.