• Step 1 – Admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
• Step 2 – Admitted, said out loud, and meant, to ourselves and to many others our nature and the warped reality of our existence
• Step 3 – Decided to act upon this predicament and stay sober at all costs, getting professional help when necessary
• Step 4 – Made a deeply introspective list of all things stressful, worrisome, embarrassing, or pending that required action so that recovery becomes a priority
• Step 5 – Made daily and measurable progress on correcting items on this list, also identifying those items which were honestly beyond our power to change
• Step 6 – Reflect, refine, and repeat
Do I have a problem with the 12 Steps? Absolutely not. Did I have a problem with the 12 Steps? You betcha! While still drinking and in even in early recovery I concentrated on the reasons why the steps would not work for me, the religious aspect, the spiritual aspect, and the many logic traps I spent hours/days creating. I still worked all the steps diligently, yet deep in my heart lacked faith in many of the steps.
Over time it has become obvious to me that the 12 Steps have two purposes, one is to help people quit drinking and the other is to learn again how to live without drinking. The latter can not happen before the first, and I think this is the cause of many abandoning their program in frustration.
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So for those out there that have decided that AA or other 12 Step programs just will not work for your “unique” case, try my abbreviated steps. I will be more than willing to blog on any step if anyone wants clarification or is in disagreement (I expect a blog from you first though). They worked for me even though at the time I didn’t realize this was how I was going about my program. Just as I did not realize later in my recovery, after years of sobriety, that the 12 steps made a lot more sense to me because of my recovery. Faith and spirituality did not get me sober, but I can say without a doubt that I found both because of my recovery.
I am still not religious in the traditional sense, my faith is personal and unorthodox, but my spirituality is what has really opened the door to learning to live happy again without drinking- and it gets better every day. Maybe like me, you just might enjoy revisiting the 12 steps later in your recovery- definitely something to look forward to. A future I promise you will not have if you continue making excuses of why you can’t stop drinking.