Everyone Works the 12 Steps
People occasionally ask me, “Why do those poor people have to go to all those (AA/NA) meetings?” I guess I can understand that, considering when I was young I thought AAA (a sticker on a car) meant Alcoholics Anonymous Association. I thought alcoholics and their meetings were everywhere. I figured they must have needed lots of help.
Most people, (alcoholics/addicts and family members and friends) find a recovery program thrust upon them for various reasons, work, family or the law or whatever, (you know the drill). Somebody eventually recommends a 12-step program of recovery. What to do, what to do. People ask themselves “what is this 12-step program going to be like”?
Very few people outside a recovering community understand how the 12-steps works. Recovery from an addiction is not as bad as it seems. Actually, an addiction to anything is a gift to a new way of life. The 12-steps are a lifestyle, which leads toward a well-balanced life. Recovery is just a process we all go through from whatever is affecting us. Everybody has life challenges. You name it; I bet there is a 12-step community recovering from it.
Recovery makes us better people, period. “Practicing all these principals on all our affairs”. The 12-steps is a great way of life.
I now understand AA/NA as a community of people living and working together toward a common purpose. Stay sober and get better.
We all live in communities; however, adding a new community can be disconcerting (think of moving across the country to a new town and trying to find where the good coffee and donuts can be had).
While I thought of this question I wanted to come up with an answer that would be understandable to most people. I thought of 3 different communities: one in which we live, like a town or a neighborhood, one where people worship, and the 12-step community where recovery from addiction takes place.
What follows is a 12-step experience I think we can all appreciate.
I thought about the town where I live and all the times I’ve gone to the doctor’s office and everybody in the place had the flu. We shared a common illness and sought relief.
1. We all were admitting we were powerless over the flu, and our lives had become unmanageable. (Unmanageable is an understatement when you have a bad flu).
2. We came to believe a Doctor and the prescribed treatment plan could restore us to health.
3. We were willing to follow the treatment plan to restore our health. (Anything to make the flu stop).
4. We made a clear list of our particular symptoms. (Know what I mean)?
5. We tell the Doctor or Nurse our symptoms.
6. The Doctor or Nurse gives us a diagnosis of exactly which flu we have that needs to be treated.
7. The Doctor gives us a prescription and/or a list of treatment instructions.
8. We get the script filled at the Pharmacy. (No point in getting a script if you don’t fill it).
9. We follow the script (take the pills) and the treatment instructions the Doctor or Nurse gave us.
10. Not wanting to suffer the flu again we monitor our health and if there are any new flu like symptoms on a daily basis.
11. We sought through any resource available how to prevent from getting the flu again. (Similar to preventive medicine).
12. Having sufficiently recovered from the flu and knowing some preventive tips we told others to wash their hands and stuff and if we saw someone else suffering from the flu we told them to go to the Doctor.
The steps we follow to deal with the flu (which we are all susceptible to get) are the same 12-steps in the recovering community. Now it’s not so difficult to understand why people go to those meetings. It’s just part of a process of staying sober and getting better, the same way we all want to be better when we have the flu. As one integrates into a recovering community, with a sponsor and a home group one is more likely to stay sober.
As we all are a members of the community in which we live, we can choose to join a recovering community as well. Today, choose a recovering community.
Do not be afraid!
Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Scott M. Banford