12 Lessons in Recovery (and in Life)
When you're in pain, you have a choice. You can use these difficult challenges to become better, or repeat the lesson again. These life lessons will continue to repeat themselves until you get the lesson. It's the same for all of us. But in order to do that, you need to have the right support.
What are 12 Step Programs?
12 step programs consist of free support groups that teach people how to live without substances or destructive behavior. The "mother" program, Alcoholics Anonymous, is by far the most recognized group, but you may not realize that there are thirty four other groups for issues like food addiction, gambling, debt problems, sexual addiction, relationship problems, workaholism and much more.
The most common program I recommend to my clients is Al-Anon. It's for family and friends of alcoholics but if you come from a dysfunctional home, you're welcome. Most people have some addiction in their family history which qualifies you as a member.
How Recovery Works
When you begin 12 step recovery, you're no longer alone. You have a wealth of new people you can literally call on at any time.
As you start to work the program, you begin to trust that everything happens (even the tough stuff) for a reason. Sometimes you learn more from the painful experiences because they push you to let go of old behaviors that no longer serve you.
The program is based on working the 12 steps and 12 traditions with a sponsor. Most people find the steps life-changing because it provides a way to handle hurt and resentment that promotes healing. For more information about 12 step programs read 12 Step Programs and Why You Should Consider Them.
Here are some lessons in 12 step recovery (and in life) that help you learn how to live with more serenity.
12 Lessons Learned In Recovery
- You have two options, go to any lengths to recover or do it alone and struggle.
- If you keep coming back no matter what - you can get through anything sober.
- Doing service helps you work with others, and become a part of the group.
- Admitting powerlessness is the hardest part - and you will revisit that powerlessness with each new dilemma.
- When things are going well, sabotaging your progress is common.
- Surrendering happens only after you've exhausted everything else.
- Working with a sponsor teaches you how to trust others and practice acceptance.
- Meetings are a safe place to go when feeling overwhelmed and alone.
- The traditions won't matter until you see the unity and safety that they provide.
- A spiritual awakening is an "ah-ha" moment of clarity that creates transformation.
- Relapse is not your fault. It just means there's more work to do.
- Being willing to let go of the drama is the beginning of lasting serenity.
There are lots of misconceptions that prevent people from checking out these programs but they will work if you work it!
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