More Americans it seems are being confronted with the harsh realities that accompany the abuse of alcohol. A recent study informs of just how widespread this abuse has become in our country. And even when not the individual with the drinking problem, it is still devastating to watch the effect that long-term abuse of alcohol can have on the life of a loved one.
As with most things, there is definitely hope for those who wish to fight back against the evil of alcohol addiction. One highly recommended solution to this problem is perhaps one of the oldest: Adherence to the wisdom and philosophies of the 12 step program.
Countless alcoholics and problem drinkers have found relief in the 12-step program for over 80 years now. And while all 12 steps of the programs are relevant, three of these steps, in particular, stand out as critical to the process of recovering from alcohol addiction.
We Admitted We Were Powerless Over Alcohol And That Our Lives Had Become Unmanageable
The first step to solving any problem is to admit to oneself that a problem exists. This is an oft-repeated mantra. However, the first step of the 12-step program speaks to much more than a perfunctory act of contrition. This step, which is also the first step of the program, enables those in the program to develop a number of character traits necessary to fuel their recovery.
The capacity for self-honesty is central to the first step of the 12-step program. As is often true with substance abusers, alcoholics many times are living in a world of fantasy. The alcoholic is totally capable of believing that only good times and glamour are associated with his or her actions while destroying all that he or she touches.
The self-honesty to first see, and then critically analyze one’s own actions, coupled with the willingness to hold one’s self accountable for the outcome of those actions is necessary before even considering the next 11 steps.
Made A Searching And Fearless Moral Inventory Of Ourselves
In the first step of the 12-step program, the recovering individual is asked to admit his weaknesses and need for change. Step 4 now requires that the work associated with this pledge be done.
A primary point to make is fearless does not mean the emotion of fear will not be present at some point in this journey of self-discovery. To be honest, not many things are scarier than rigorously assessing one’s own actions and weaknesses after years of living in denial. In the context of the 12-step program fearless means that any fear associated with the process will not be allowed to serve as a deterrent to the process.
Step 4 also mandates that the recovering individual no longer justify their own poor behavior and choices by blaming other people or past events in their lives. While it is also important to identify harm done to oneself by others with bad intentions or painful past events, it is much more important than the recovering individual completely accepts the concept of being responsible for his own reaction to people and events of the past.
Made A List Of People We Had Harmed And Became Willing To Make Amends To Them All
It is a common theme amongst alcoholics to concentrate completely on those who have caused them harm in the past. These thoughts of victimization become a convenient excuse to continue to partake in self-destructive behavior and must be curbed.
But just as important for the alcoholic is the need to end their own denial pertaining to the harm they have caused others. In most cases, the humility that results from acknowledging the destruction they have caused to the lives of others, coupled with the willingness to make amends and seek forgiveness, will result in the alcoholic being more willing to forgive the trespasses against him or herself.
Alcoholism will continue to be a most challenging social ill to American society. But for the individual struggling against his own weakness against alcohol, following a 12-step program can be of great benefit. If interested in more information pertaining to the proliferation of alcohol abuse in our communities read here.