The 12 steps explained
The practices and principles outlined in the 12 step programme were originally designed by Alcoholics Anonymous to help people with recovery from alcohol addiction. The steps have been so successful, that the principles are now widely used in recovery for people facing many different types of addiction.
The steps focus on changing unhealthy thought patterns and addictive behaviours. And combine faith and spirituality in the journey of recovering from addiction.
What are the 12 steps?
Step 1: accepting reality by admitting you’re powerless to what you’re addicted to.
Step 2: have faith in a higher power to help you on your journey to healing.
Step 3: admit that you can’t go on the journey alone – you need support from your peers and a higher power.
Step 4: identify your problems and how your behaviour affects you and others around you.
Step 5: admit your mistakes and wrongdoings to God, yourself, and to someone else.
Step 6: be ready to let go of your wrongdoings.
Step 7: humility. Admit you can’t do it alone and ask God for help.
Step 8: show willingness to make amends: Make a list of people who have been on the receiving end of your damaging behaviour.
Step 9: Begin to rebuild relationships.
Step 10: check in with yourself to maintain your moral and spiritual progress. When you’ve been wrong – admit it, and make amends.
Step 11: discovering your plan and purpose in life.
Step 12: commitment to continuing your new found principles. And, the challenge to spread the message to other people struggling with addiction.
Still got questions about the 12 steps?
If you benefit from seeing images to help you understand things better – take a look at the illustrated version of the 12 step programme by Alcohol Anonymous.
How long does it take to get through the 12 steps?
It’s important to remember that recovery from addiction isn’t about a quick-fix.
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong journey. Some people complete the 12 step programme in a couple of months, while for others it takes years.
At Livingstone House, our aim is to take a steady pace with an individual’s recovery, prioritising multiple psycho-educational workshops and assignments on addiction similar to what’s covered in the 12 steps. And while we encourage the use of the 12-step programme, the first 3 steps of the programme are our main focus in the early days of recovery, running alongside our relapse prevention work.
Is CBT similar to 12 steps?
Cognitive behavioural therapy gives people the opportunity to heal from the physical and emotional effects that addiction has on someone’s health.
CBT can help patients to:
- Learn anger management skills
- Heal emotional wounds
- Develop healthy and helpful coping mechanisms
The 12 step programme uses many similar principles to CBT. But the biggest difference is that CBT focuses on helping an individual and the 12 step programme looks at empowering a group of people.
The importance of combining 12 steps with therapy
At Livingstone House we combine the 12 step programme with alternative therapies that support an individual’s recovery.
We recognise that each individual has their own unique journey to recovery so we have one to one therapy as well as group therapy.
If you think you need some help with starting a journey toward recovery from addiction then please get in touch – we’d love to explain more about how our programmes work and how we can support you.