Break the substance dependency.
Addiction is accepted as a compulsive brain ailment categorized by its inability to abstain despite adverse consequences, shifts in the behavioural controls, compulsive cravings and abnormalities in emotional response. It is progressive by nature and leads to negative manifestations both on the individual and their loved ones.
Recovery from addiction needs external intervention with a customised combination of scientific treatments and engagement with support groups that offer elements of encouragement, acceptance and hope in the comfort of positive peer interactions.
The 12-Step program came into existence with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), program designed to aid the rehabilitation efforts of people struggling with alcohol. At present, the 12-Step programs are aimed at people battling a variety of destructive behaviours including substance abuse. Most of these addiction recovery support groups lean towards the 12-Step Treatment as charted by AA. The detailed framework of the 12-Step Program is listed below. Addicts are motivated to follow the steps outlined, one after the other. The ultimate objective being:
– The ability to abstain from the cause
– achieve a personal spiritual awakening, and
– share the experience with people in similar circumstances.
Accepting to being weak over our addiction
Step 1 of the 12-Step Program persuades the individuals to accept and acknowledge that they are unable to control their urge to give in to their addiction; the acceptance that their resolution and impetus to abide by their accepted standards has been compromised. The very acknowledgement of this loss of control and the admission of being weak over addiction is the first constructive step on the path to recovery.
Acknowledging a Higher Power than oneself
Step 2 urges the individuals to recognize their Higher Power for restoring one’s sanity. The Higher Power could be God, faith, hope or even a strong belief. The goal of this step in the 12-Step Treatment is to establish the fact that the individual needs and willingly accepts the truth that in order to move forward in the recovery path they require help from a power beyond themselves. This step challenges the individuals to analyze their own belief system.
Consenting to submit completely to the Higher Power
Once each individual has realized their Higher Power, Step 3 of the 12-Step Program encourages the individuals to surrender in totality to this Higher Power to help heal themselves. This is the first action step where the individual’s inclination to change for (the) better is put to test to make further progress.
The Serenity Prayer aids as a reminder to stay on course and is central to several 12-Step Treatments as it portrays the thought that individuals must accept that substance abuse has control over them, detrimental strength to remain normal and to know the right from wrong. Step 3 asks individuals to be willing to let this Higher Power to fully govern their lives.
Taking a moral inventory of oneself
Seldom do we retrospect on the good and the bad that happens in our lives. From living our lives, we begin to just exist. Step 4 of the 12-Step treatment pushes participants to take stock of their lives – honest and comprehensive. Individuals are stimulated to break the barrier of any negative emotion and talk freely about their shortcomings and achievements. Often writing lists is a tool used for Step 4 as individuals are called upon to write about past episodes, opinions, feelings and experiences that may be daunting to even think about. This is the time the participants spend on self-analysis and contemplate the effects of their past behaviours, actions and its implications on loved ones.
Confessing the transgression to oneself and to others
Taking the list from Step 4, Step 5 of the 12-Step Program encourages individuals to choose a companion to share these personal incidents and occurrences. While the individuals speak to their confidante, they also admit their shortcomings to their Higher Power and seek forgiveness in order to move forward and abandon the sorry past.
It is difficult to vocalize the wrongdoing of the past and often individuals are humbled by this experience. The act helps in the moral cleansing of the participants as they move forward leaving behind the negativity.
Readiness to eliminate all character defects
Step 6 of the 12-step treatment is about the willingness to eliminate the character flaws. It is critical to learning to let go of the past, to move forward with positivity derived from the Higher Power. Here the participants correlate the shortcomings from Step 4 with specific character traits that propelled them to actualize these shortcomings. Once the character flaws have been identified, the individuals choose positive replacements for each of these flaws. During Step 6, it is helpful to write down positive assertions next to each character flaw, thus having something to fall back on during the recovery process.
Using humility to overcome shortcomings
Learning to be humble is central to pursuing Step 7 of the 12-Step Program as individuals surrender themselves to the Higher Power’s will. Success in this step requires continuous thoughtfulness and commitment to being honest. Meditation is another tool, often recommended, during Step 7 as a means of deep introspections and learning the nuances of leading a humble life. Individuals learn to appreciate the importance of being humble.
Writing the wrongdoings and make amends
This step is all about forgiveness. Step 8 of the 12-Step Program aims to coax the individuals to think about the unpleasantness of the past – done by them and done to them.
Writing list is the recommended way where there are two, maybe overlapping, lists. The first list is of people who need to be forgiven and the second list is of the people from whom they seek forgiveness. Individuals are advocated, to be honest, and pen down names of anyone who elicits strong negative emotions like anger, guilt, fear, resentment, shame etc.Step 8 continues the detailed personal inventory, deep diving to include precise people impacted by the individual’s substance abuse.
Making amends by personal contact wherever possible
Following step 8, in Step 9 of the 12-Step Treatment, individuals attempt to reach out to the people on the list to apologize for the mistakes done in the past. People are persuaded to bridge the gap, in whatever way possible, to make amends. This step challenges the perseverance of the individual. This step helps to set the right perspective so that everyone involved could move forward leaving the past behind.
Accountability for everyday actions
With Step 10 of the 12-Step Program, individuals make themselves responsible for their daily activities. Alongside the recovery process, individuals now begin to evaluate the impact of their every action, thoughts and even words and ways to stay aligned with their faith in the Higher Power’s will. People are encouraged to be aware of their actions and take immediate corrective measures for any obvious wrongdoings whether intentional or unintentional. Step 10 involves constant reflection to keep oneself emotionally balanced and on track.
Staying connected with The Right
Step 11 of the 12-Step Treatment gives thrust to the use of tools like introspection, meditation and prayer as a means of staying connected with the Higher Power. This step stresses the importance of staying connected with the realized Higher Power. Venting out thoughts – in words or on paper is another essential way to stay away from negative emotions. Noting down thoughts and experiences during this step can be beneficial in analysing the underlying emotions more completely and can be later used for sharing it with others on their healing journey.
Experiencing spiritual awakening; further helping others
After realizing the coming together with their Higher Power, individuals are guided to share this sense of spirituality with others and assist them in their recovery. During Step 12 with Silver Lining Recovery, individuals are asked to share their stories of struggles and as testimony in order to provide hope and encouragement.
Individuals can return to any of the steps of the 12-Step Program, even if they have already finished with all steps.
The 12-Step Program in California can be a friendly guide in the individual’s recovery journey.
Contact Silver Lining Recovery in case you are looking for 12-Step Treatment Centers in California.
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