12 step programs and 12 step groups help many people overcome addictions and problems which seem stressful...unsolvable.
Do you have so much stress in your life that you feel backed into a corner? Are you willing to do what ever it takes to solve your problem? If so, finding an appropriate 12 step group may be your answer!
Use the following 12 step information to guide you and help you get started.
These programs offer a solution which is “spiritual” but not religious.
No denominational or theological affiliation is required.
Even people who thought of themselves as agnostics or atheists have been able to successfully use a 12 step program.
The program requires only that you be willing to believe that there is a “Power, greater than yourself” which can help you. It recommends you look within to find conscious contact with God as you understand him.
Participation in these programs has saved thousands of people from death. They have saved many others from a life of hopelessness, chaos and despair.
Prior to the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism was considered a progressive fatal disease. Modern medicine had no cure for it. Yet by 1946 a Minneapolis AA group reported that of the people who stayed with the program for at least 3 months, 48% achieved sobriety. Those who stayed with the program 9-12 months over 75% stayed sober!
The co founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, both gained their freedom from alcoholism by participation in a program called the Oxford Group. The Oxford Group followed 4 steps:
These 4 steps became the basis for the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The 12 step programs took form in the 1930's beginning with Alcoholics Anonymous.
Since then the basic 12 step program has been applied to many other stressful areas of life. They offer powerful stress relief.
We acknowledge that, on our own, we are powerless over the addiction or major problem in our life.
We find a group of people who, through adopting a non-religious, yet spiritual approach to life, have been able to overcome the addiction. (12 step programs are compatible with religion, religion is simply not required.)
We work with, and have the support of these people, both individually and in the group, and work the “Steps” of the program.
It does require the capacity to be honest. It also requires the commitment and dedication to working the program with the other members. But as they say, “It works if you work it.” Many people have been helped.
The following 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonymous have been successfully applied to many other addictions and problems.
Try to find a group which closely follows the original Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps program, which had a 50% to 75% success rate.
We recommend the book, Back to Basics: The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners' Meetings "Here are the steps we took..." in Four One-Hour Sessions by Wally P. It presents the original historical program clearly and powerfully.
It is suggested that you find a 12 step program and a sponsor or sharing partner who can support and guide you through the 12 step process.
First, identify a major area of stress in you life. (That is usually not too hard.) Then find an appropriate 12 Step Group in your area.
You can use the yellow pages and the internet to find an appropriate group for your situation. It is usually recommended that you start with just one group and focus your efforts there.
The groups invite participation free of charge.
They are available all over the country in the form of face to face meetings (highly recommended) and also telephone meetings (also very helpful).
Some of these groups include:
If none of the existing groups seem to be addressing your particular problem, you can attend and participate in a convenient local group and mentally substitute the thought of your addiction or problem instead of alcohol or alcoholism. The steps will still work for you if you work them. Find a sponsor or sharing partner to assist you in the process.
An amazing number of people do find that their specific problem or addiction, and often many others, are just “lifted” from their shoulders when they honestly work the program.
Explore other ways to deal with stress spiritually to assist you on your journey, or
Learn how many early AA pioneers found peace and serenity practicing their 11th step by learning "How to Listen to God" or,
Visit Gentle Stress Relief home page for an overview of many kinds of stress relief.
1939. Alcoholics Anonymous. New York City: Works Publishing Company
Paton, Wally, 2000. How to Listen to God, Overcoming Addiction Through Practice of Two-Way Prayer. Tucson, AZ: Faith with Works Publishing Company