A Beginners Guide To the 12 Steps

When you begin your recovery journey, you’ll likely come into contact with the 12 Step model since it is considered an essential part of many recovery programs. The 12 step models of recovery originated from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) but has been adopted over the years to treat many addictions, not just alcohol. The twelve steps are a group of spiritual principles that guide people in their recovery, helping them to cultivate a sense of direction, purpose, spiritual wholeness and overall well-being.

Over the years the 12-step model has been adapted to fit in with many different belief systems. Although the 12-step model is considered a spiritual model, you do not have to be religious to follow the steps. You simply need to believe in something larger than yourself and surrender to it for strength, help, and faith. 

Here is a beginner’s guide to understanding the 12 steps. Understanding them now may help you connect with resources who can help you begin your journey.

1. Honesty

Step One is also known as admitting you have become powerless over your addiction and that it has become unmanageable. This step takes a huge amount of honesty and courage. 

2. Faith

Step Two involves having faith that there is help through something larger than yourself. This can be a belief in a higher power but also involves getting support from professionals.

3. Surrender

Step Three involves surrendering to our higher power or into the hands of professionals or a program that can support you in your recovery. Having faith in something larger than yourself can give you hope and strength.

4. Taking Inventory

Step Four involves writing out all the things we have done that we regret. It involves creating a moral inventory of ourselves. This can be a very vulnerable process and takes a lot of courage.

5. Integrity

Step Five involves being open and vulnerable with another person by sharing the list of things you have done wrong in the past. It’s important that the person you share this with is safe and trustworthy. This step is not about causing more shame and guilt but rather freeing yourself from it, and feeling accepted by others who have also clawed their way back from the pits of despair. 

6. Acceptance

Step Six involves accepting ourselves and giving up some of our faults. This involves forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to move forward with your lives.

7. Humility

Step Seven involves committing to living in a new way. Since you are beginning to make amends for your past wrongs and have begun working to let them go you will now need to adopt a new way of being. A lot of time our pride and selfishness can get in the way of recovery so adopting feelings of humility and modesty can help us in our recovery journey.

8. Willingness

Step Eight involves preparing to apologize to the people you have wronged in the past: making a list of the people you have hurt and cultivating the wiliness to try to make amends.

9. Forgiveness

Step Nine involves apologizing to the people you have hurt. This is best done in person if possible and is only done if it will not make things worse. You can still create a ritual of apology even if you cannot do it in person or if the person has passed away. This is a difficult step, but it can be very rewarding and is good for the spirit and soul. When we ask for forgiveness from others, we must also work to forgive ourselves for hurting them.

 10. Maintenance

Step Ten involves being mindful of our behaviour and taking ownership for it when we do something wrong. This involves being honest with ourselves and taking note of our own personal triggers that may be linked to relapse. Learning to take responsibility for our actions and to be able to own them right away can help in our recovery journey.

11. Making Contact

Step Eleven means staying connected to your new perspective. This can involve becoming more spiritual and using meditation or prayer to help keep you focused and moving forward. Working to find more purpose and meaning from your life will aid you in this step and help boost your resilience and well-being.

 12. Service

Step Twelve involves giving back if you can. Helping other people through acts of service and being kind to others is an important part of one’s continued recovery journey. 

Take the First Step

No matter where you are in your recovery journey, The Haven at Pismo is here to help! Connect with us today to take your recovery to the next level, beyond even what the 12 steps can offer. Call us today at 1-888-952-0438 to get started!

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