The Twelve Steps comprises a set of guiding principles and actions designed to avail recovery from substance addictions, and compulsive or behavioural problems often referred to as process addictions.
Originally conceived by the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to combat alcoholism, the Twelve Steps first featured in the 1939 book ‘Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism’. That book, revised on occasions, is still the main writing of AA, and is commonly known by members as The Big Book. The Twelve Steps, and other innovations and insights published therein, became the foundation of many other fellowships utilising The Twelve Step program.
The Twelve Steps method has been adapted by more than 200 self-help fellowships to address a wide range of problems including alcoholism, substance-abuse, dependency and process addiction problems. There are literally millions of people around the world, attending any of tens of thousands of ‘meetings’ a day, finding a reprieve from their problems.
Along with AA, other Fellowships that are most pertinent to the rehabilitation offered by SafeHouse Rehab are Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. During treatment at SafeHouse, The Twelve Steps will be referenced regularly, and the first three or five Steps will be ‘worked’ alongside, and in conjunction with, the four stages of the SafeHouse program. Clients will also attend at least two ‘Anonymous’ meetings a week during rehab, in order that they become familiar with the workings and benefits of so doing.
The following are The Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous;
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Step 11: 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.
Step 12: 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.
The first fellowship that received permission to adapt The Twelve Steps for their own use was Narcotics Anonymous, in 1953 They made one major change – replacing the word ‘alcohol’ in Step 1, with ‘our addiction’ thereby widening the sphere to include all and any substances, and process addictions. They made 12 other changes: adding the word ‘we’ at the beginning of Steps two to eleven (for inclusivity and empathy), and in the last of The Twelve Steps changed the word ‘the’ to ‘a’.
Many other fellowships sprang up over the intervening years, and adapted the wording to their own needs in similar fashion. What did not change however, was the actualities of The Twelve Steps: their meaning, their application, and their success. USA politician Henry Kissinger labelled the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous and The Twelve Steps “The greatest accomplishment of the 20th Century”: not a bad testimonial.
The Twelve Steps provide a template for sufferers of addictions of all kinds to embrace a new life, and avoid falling back into addictions on a daily basis. What an addict can do for any given waking day, they can do for every waking day. A daily reprieve from active addiction is what is on offer by working the first three steps; the next six steps are designed to make the necessary amends and banish the past misdeeds; the last three are the template to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle long-term.
Rehabilitation at SafeHouse, including a crucial introduction to The Twelve Steps, will provide a tremendous foundation for a future uncomplicated by active addiction, and the pain and damage it causes to addicts and everyone around them.