Drug and alcohol addiction are two things that are singlehandedly responsible for wreaking many lives. Many people suffer from these addictions and yet, very few pick themselves up and decide to do something about them. Recovery from these addictions is not an easy process, and it takes a long time to be fully free of them. However, making up your mind to do so solves half your problem. Remember that every day, 700,000 people admit themselves for alcohol or drug addiction, and they are going through the same thing as you.
If you have decided to give up on your drug and alcohol addiction, there are certain steps you need to follow. Many people decide to give quitting a shot but because of the lack of will power and other reasons, they find themselves back where they started. The twelve step program was started by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Because of its effectiveness, it was adopted by Narcotics Anonymous (NA) as well. Many people have found it to be brilliant and effective, and here are those steps:
Steps One to Three – There are 23 million people in the age group 12 and above who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction in America. Around 15 million of these people have only alcohol addiction, 4 million have drug addiction, and the rest are addicted and dependent on both.
The first step towards your addiction-free life is to accept that the allure of drugs and alcohol makes you powerless. This is a difficult step for an addict to go through because it is at this point that you are admitting your problem. You have to recognize that you have a serious addiction and only then can you counteract it. You can’t fight against something you don’t believe exists. So, admit that you are facing a problem of addiction.
The second step urges you to believe that a higher power will take you out of this mess. Initially, when AA introduced this step, Christian principles were the basis of its foundation. However, as times have changed, the 12 step program understands that everyone has their concept of a higher power and it acknowledges that. You can believe in any power you want and feel comfortable with even if it is a living person you look up to, yourself, or something else. The point is that you have to focus on a life where your addiction isn’t the center but your belief is.
In the third step, you give over your life decisions and your fate to that higher power. As an addict, you have to believe that the things that make you powerless would be solved by the higher power and it will be alright.
Steps Four to Six – Step Four is all about being honest with your self. It calls for taking accountability for your actions and analyzing the damage you have done. It is certainly a very challenging step, which can be traumatizing for an addict because old and painful memories have to be relived. You have to list out all the bad things that your addiction has brought with itself.
Step Five requires a lot of courage and takes Step Four to a new level. After the addict has listed out the bad things that have happened to others because of their addiction, they find their self. In this step, you have to admit your faults to the person or people who you think have been affected because of your addiction. It would not only give you a fresh perspective, but it will also make you feel good.
Step Six is a step forward in the addict’s life. In this step, you have to keep yourself ready for your higher power to change your life and improve it. This is where you turn a new leaf and wait for the change to happen. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to believe in the fact that your higher power would do some good for you. In this step, you are ready to move on from your life of addiction. You should know that one-third of people who are addicted to alcohol end up fully recovering. Keep this statistic in mind, and it will give you the necessary strength to move forward.
Steps Seven to Nine – Now that you have readied yourself, Step Seven involves asking your higher power to absolve you of your addiction and shortcomings. In this step, you ask for those vices, which made you turn towards your addiction, to be removed. You have to be willing and able to acknowledge and work towards removing those vices in your character.
Steps Eight and Nine are the steps where you must make amends for your actions. Many people loved you, like your family and friends, who were wrongly troubled and hurt because of your addiction. This is where you make a list of those people and make amends to them. It can be tough for an addict to admit that they have hurt the people they loved. This is mainly because they have been living under the veil of their addiction for so long that they didn’t realize they were hurting others. In these steps, that changes.
You have to face the people you have hurt, and you have to talk to them. This usually involves asking for forgiveness and renewing your relationship with your friends and family. There might be certain relationships that are hard to repair, but you have to try your best and show them that you have changed. Tell them about your new thoughts and how you are trying to give up on your drug/alcohol addiction by joining AA or NA.
In the US, there are 1.25 million addicts who are members of the AA. All over the world, 25,000 NA groups have people who are exactly like you and are trying to turn their life around.
Steps Ten to Twelve – By this time, the addict has not touched his addiction for a long time. So, it becomes pretty difficult to remain sober by this step. This is why, in Step Ten, you keep taking a personal inventory of your past actions and affected people. This keeps reminding you of what you were and what wrongs you committed. Thus, this step reminds you why you need to remain sober and stay away from your addiction. The accountability keeps you on your toes.
Step Eleven is similar to Step Three, but a little action oriented. In this step, you pray to your higher power to make you better and kill your addiction and other vices that led to it. Here, the addict seeks their strength in their higher power and vow to stay sober. There will be times when you feel like you cannot do it, but you must rely on your belief and take your medications. The success rate of recovery improves by 50% when treatment options and prescription drugs are combined to fight an addiction. You must keep this in mind and believe that you are going to succeed.
The last step encourages you to include all these steps in your lives at all times and continues staying sober.
There are no promises for these 12 Steps to work unless the addict believes in himself. Recovery statistics show that in the last decade or so, 40% of people who entered a rehab facility were successful. If they can do it, then so can you.