The 12 Steps were developed in the 1930’s by Bill Ebby, who underwent a powerful spiritual experience once he learned from a doctor that his alcoholism was going to soon kill him. Bill decided to abstain from drinking and surrender himself to his spirituality and higher power, which worked successfully to keep him sober and live a healthy life in recovery. He was so happy with his personal journey, that he worked the rest of his life to bring that freedom and peace to other alcoholics.
The 12 Steps
The 12 Steps, as they were created, read as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Over time, the 12 Steps have evolved to be guided more so by spirituality, rather than religion, to be able to reach and help more people. Note it says “as we understood God”, so that it can be more inclusive. They read as follows in present day:
- Acceptance – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Hope – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Willingness – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
- Personal Inventory – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Self-Disclosure – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Reflection – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humility – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Amends List – Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Make Amends – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued Inventory – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Spiritual Growth – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Giving Back – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Make Spirituality Your Own
The role spirituality plays in the 12 Steps isn’t only for religious people. If you are not religious, spirituality can still play a major part in your recovery. Spirituality isn’t about a particular set of beliefs, but rather the belief in a higher power. This can be anything from an embodied higher power such as God, or even a larger purpose or goal. It can be your view on life and how you want to live it. It is a belief to surrender to and dedicate to; which can be anything from your religion, to being respected more by your family, to the way you want to interact with other people. It is all about giving yourself a guide, and to continue your personal growth.
Religion vs Spirituality
Spirituality is a complex term. Formal religion is more concrete, defined by specific doctrines and traditions. People who describe themselves as religious usually follow a particular set of beliefs and identify with a group of people who share those beliefs. Spirituality is more fluid and includes a search for meaning and a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. People who define themselves as spiritual may not have a specific set of religious beliefs, but rather pick and choose from a few different ones that speak to them. Spirituality and religion do share some common ground in that they both bring comfort, reflection and a set of ethics to people who practice them.
Spirituality gathers people, and gets like-minded people together. Since the 12 step programs are so prevalent, you can find a group that is best tailored to your needs. If you are religious, you can find a religious-based one in your area. If not, you can find one that is not. It’s all about making it your own, and gathering with people who are going through the same things as you.
Encouragement, honesty and support
Being part of a group that works the 12 steps gives you so many emotional benefits. You’ll have access to an entire community of people who are encouraging and will celebrate your successes, when possibly no one else will. You’ll be able to be honest with people who will not judge you, and receive guidance and advice from others in the group who have possibly been in a similar particular situation that you might be struggling with. The support you will receive is not just prayer; it will be real support from real people who care about you.
About Pinelands Recovery Center
Spirituality is whatever you want to make it to be. Why do you want to become sober? Do you want a better relationship with your loved ones? Do you want to feel like a happy, free, joyus person, free from the prison of your addiction and the shame that has built? All of this can be used as fuel to work your 12 steps.
Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and a 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the serene forest environment. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.
We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.
We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and
healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com