Weaving the tapestry of your life can often be an intricate process, and when your journey includes a struggle with addiction, that process might seem daunting. Yet, within the 12 Step Fellowship, a path of self-discovery emerges, a path that could serve as the blueprint for your transformation. This journey of self-discovery, when viewed through the lens of Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D., is seen not as a disease, but as a response to adverse life circumstances and environments that can trigger distress and potentially contribute to addiction-related behaviors.
As you begin to explore the 12 Steps, you are invited to take a reflective look at your life, your relationships, and your past actions. The cornerstone of this journey is honesty, not only with others but importantly, with yourself. This kind of radical honesty allows you to peel back the layers of your experiences, thoughts, and feelings and exposes the root causes of your addictive behavior.
Step 4 of the 12 Steps, for example, guides you to make a “fearless moral inventory” of yourself. In essence, this step encourages you to dig deep and explore your emotions, actions, and their consequences. It provides an opportunity for you to gain a greater understanding of the underlying reasons for your addiction. You might begin to identify patterns of behavior, trace them back to their source, and recognize how they have influenced your life. As the renowned author Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”
Tatarsky’s harm reduction approach focuses on understanding and empathizing with the underlying reasons for addictive behaviors, instead of condemning the behavior itself. Similarly, the 12 Step Fellowship invites you to approach your past actions and experiences with compassion and understanding, rather than judgment. This shift in perspective can pave the way for significant personal growth and change.
Step 12 in the Fellowship speaks of a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, encouraging you to carry the message to others and to practice the principles learned in all your affairs. This is where the full circle of self-discovery is complete. Your journey becomes a tool to aid others, and in doing so, reinforces your understanding and growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
The 12 steps to recovery from addiction, and how it works?
Alcoholics Anonymous centers on a set of guidelines known as the “12 Steps of Recovery.” According to the Big Book, they are:3
- Realizing you can’t fight addiction alone.
- trust in a divine or supernatural being to solve problems.
- Having confidence in something larger than oneself.
- Reflecting on one’s own circumstances.
- Confessing wrongdoing to a higher power, oneself, and another person.
- Having confidence in a higher power to guide your moral development.
- Asking God to help you forget your mistakes.
- The process of taking stock of wrongs done to others and formulating a strategy to right those wrongs.
- Approaching the injured person, unless doing so might exacerbate their condition.
- Keeping an impartial judgment of yourself and owning up to your shortcomings.
- Using spiritual practices like prayer and meditation to deepen one’s understanding of the world and one’s place in it.
- Providing assistance by sharing the 12 step philosophy with individuals in need.
Explain the role of the Sponsor in a 12-Step Program?
A “sponsor” is a person who supports and keeps one accountable during the 12-step recovery process.The more seasoned members of the group are called “Sponsors,” and they have been sober for a minimum of a year. Someone who can help you out because they have been in your shoes is your “sponsor.” You can lean on them for support and guidance through tough times.
The strength of the 12 Step Fellowship comes from its members’ ability to relate to and help one another through their recovery. It’s a trip you take with other people, and you might be surprised by how much you learn about each other along the way. This sense of community can serve as a rock as you go forward in the process.
The 12 Step Fellowship views the process of self-discovery as an ongoing cycle of learning and growing as well as connecting with others. It will help you look deeper into your life, accept your history, and move on into a better version of yourself. Addiction is a symptom of underlying problems, and this is an opportunity to recognize that it is not a cause for shame. James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Keep that in mind as you set out on this trip.