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Recovery journey: The Twelve Steps

This may read like an American history lesson. There are valuable pieces of life’s puzzle in those lessons. So many students have never been able to grasp the need to know about things that happened so very long ago. How could those things possibly hold any value now? Please read on.

Betty Ford was the First Lady of the United States while her husband, Gerald Ford, served as the nation’s President, 1974-1977. According to her biography, Mrs. Ford was known for her openness. She had enough life experiences to make her wise. Before the White House experience, she became addicted to opioid analgesics for pain. After leaving the White House the problem of addiction to prescription medications and increased alcohol use, and a family intervention about the problems, she went into detoxification and rehabilitation. And eventually she founded the Betty Ford Center for addiction. As a former First Lady she knew she could influence changes that she recognized were needed. She was open with the nation about her addictions.

Addiction can happen to anyone. It doesn’t mean that someone thought they wanted to become addicted. But when they reach for help, when they want to recover their lives, they need someone to reach out to for that help. They cannot recover alone.

In 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. The goal was, and still is today, “to help you see that you are not alone in your struggles with addiction,” according to the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation. It is peer support. It is anonymous. It is open to all. AA founders chose to adopt the principles of the Oxford Group which believed that all problems rooted in fear and selfishness can be changed through a Higher Power following the Four Absolutes: honesty, purity, unselfishness and love.

The Twelve Steps aren’t just a format. These are a way of life for developing personal character and spirituality.

— Step 1:Admit powerlessness over alcohol and that your life has become unmanageable.

— Step 2:Believe that a power greater than self can restore sanity.

— Step 3:Decide to turn your will and life to the care of the God of your own understanding.

— Step 4:Search and inventory yourself fearlessly.

— Step 5:Admit to God, self and another human being the exact nature of your wrongs.

— Step 6:Become entirely ready to have God remove all the defects of character.

— Step 7:Humbly ask God to remove your shortcomings.

— Step 8:Make a list of all the persons harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.

— Step 9:Make direct amends wherever possible except when to do so would again injure those people and others.

— Step 10:Continue personal inventory and admit it promptly when you are wrong.

— Step 11:Using prayer and meditation, pray for knowledge of God’s will for you and the power to carry it out.

— Step 12:With spiritual awakening, carry the message to alcoholics and practice the principles learned.

“If you’ve ever worried that your drinking or drug use could lead to a downward spiral unless you do something, attending a 12-Step meeting could be that something to turn things around,” advises the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation.

A good place to start may be one of the 14 support groups that meet at Family Recovery Center’s Oxford House in Salem. For information about the 12-step recovery programs that meet there, call 330-337-7501.

If you think about it, these principles are valuable for everyone because humans err, fall short, and need to journey inside the self to deal with the issues in their lives. Good luck in your journey.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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