The 12 Steps

“Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.”   asam.org

I think you already knew from today’s title that “The 12 Steps” refers to the Alcoholics Anonymous program for overcoming alcohol addiction. Many recovery organizations are modeled after it, and there are other programs that use alternative strategies to support people who are struggling to control their drinking instead of their drinking controlling them.

Talk. They hear you. Most parents have already discussed drinking, drugs, sex, smoking and other things that people use and abuse to help cope with their internal and external struggles.  It’s even more important to speak up if addiction runs in the family. It certainly does in mine. You might want to remember that perfectionism, bulimia, multi-tasking workaholic behaviors, gaming, and other actions are also our attempt to curb or numb things that hurt, scare us, or feel out of control.

What’s strange is that sometimes, the very thing we turn to can quickly make us feel…hurt, scared, or out of control. Making healthy alternatives available to ourselves and our family can help circumvent this cycle with better ways to cope with these feelings. I’m sure you can think of a great list, including what we learned last week at the end of our Stress Test questions.

If you are at Step One with alcohol, click here and begin the first day of the rest of your life. If you are unsure, click here and do some self-investigation. Alcohol abuse is not the same thing as being an alcoholic. Using prescription medication post-surgery is not the same as abusing it because of addiction to opioids. I’m by no means a “tea”totaller, but understanding what you do and why you do it is important for us and our families.

As addicts or alcoholics,

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Proverbs 20:1
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived by it is not wise.”

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

Comment (4)

  • Dean Stewart| March 31, 2019

    Bravo, Jolie. A great program.

  • Jules| March 31, 2019

    Thank you for the reminder ?

  • Mindy| March 31, 2019

    My father was an alcoholic who could not face his addiction. I continually learned over many years, through God and His Word, and various supporters (also supplied by God) how to love him as best as I could WITHOUT allowing him to hurt me.
    Knowing that addiction is in my family tree, I pray for us to be able to face our greatest challenges: inside ourselves. For we are all addicted to sin, right? Thankfully, God is merciful, and through Christ we are forgiven when…See Number 10!!

    • Jolie Tunnell| March 31, 2019

      It’s a big step to realize you can still love a loved one without allowing them to hurt you. I’ve never attended an Al-Anon meeting, but it’s good to know there are support systems for people who have an alcoholic friend or family member.

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