The 12 Steps, like anything else outside ourselves, including alcohol, food, etc. are just a tool that can be used in a productive way or misused. I have seen my patients who are open to receiving the wisdom from them have breakthgoughs in their recovery and really feel they have a community of equals who are supportive.
One quote I always remember and use with lots of things is, “take what you like and leave the rest, in other word, if you like going to the meetings and listening to others but you don’t like all the steps, you can still benefit from meeting.
The big stumbling block for a lot of people is the whole “god/higher power”. I think the concept of a higher power was developped to help people with alcohol addiction to understand that there might exist a power outside themselves that could be more powerful than the most powerful thing in their life — their drink of choice-. It is about surrendering. Anyway your higher power could be the pizza parlor down the street or your own desire to heal and stop self destructive behavior. Basically we all have limited power in our lives, which we observe and learn everyday. (Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. John Lennon)
I found this great version of the twelve steps that doesn’t mention god or even a higher power and uses the journal, and thought it was worth sharing:
The Twelve Step Journal
These are the 12 steps as outlined in the book The Twelve Step Journal, by Claudette Wassil-Grimm, M.Ed..
- We admitted we were powerless over our addiction/compulsion – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that, like all human beings, our power was limited and we needed to learn to let go and learn from others.
- We made a decision to let go of control, assume a spirit of goodwill, seek the wisdom of responsible others, and discover our true “voice within”.
- We made a searching and fearless inventory of our strengths and weaknesses.
- We admitted to our journal, ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to listen to wise counsel and seek that still small voice within to guide us to change our behaviors which have been harmful to ourselves and others.
- Humbly began the process of deep change so we could overcome our weakness.
- Made a list of all persons we have harmed, became willing to make amends to them all, and to forgive those against whom we have held grudges.
- We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so whould injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Through meditation and journaling we continually seek to clarify and improve our own judgment and to consider the best direction and purpose our lives can take.
- Having developed deeper wisdom and an appreciation of the spiritual as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.