Explaining The 12 Steps to Healing
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If you look around these days you will notice that there is a Twelve Step groups for everything under the sun; from anger, depression, anxiety, overeating, and gambling, to sexual addiction and so on. Sadly, many people spend their entire lives working the 12 steps for many different weaknesses they have and want to overcome, but some can’t even get past the first step. In a world that is focusing more on holistic and organic, this article will take a look at how to make the Twelve Steps of Overcoming anything simpler.
Often times when we look at our issues we see that they are all related. That is, there is usually only one underlying issue that creates all of our problems. That doesn’t mean that the problem was “all in our head”, as they can very well be manifested into physical symptoms that require their own treatments, but they still have a psychological basis. One of the most freeing things we can do is to learn how to control our thoughts, because when we learn to do this life suddenly becomes easier to navigate.
What Do The 12 Steps Mean for a Non-Alcoholic?
To start with, if you take a look at the first three steps in the above image you see the parallel and how it flows (the secret to life is seeing how everything flows and works together): The first step is simply admitting our powerlessness over various issues, or perhaps the one underlying issue that is central to all of our problems would be a lot simpler. Many say this is the hardest step, but if you are serious about making changes then that doesn’t have to be the case. The second step is realizing we are powerless in an of ourselves. We were created to be interdependent on each other. You have heard the saying that no man is an island. That doesn’t mean “dependent” on each other for being independent is a good thing. However the basic theme of life is unity. Wouldn’t it be easier if we all learned to live and work together? As the saying goes: “Can’t we all just get along?” If we all apply these steps, world peace could break out at any moment! As it stands now, you would have a better chance with “Can’t we all just get coffee?”
Anyway, the second step is primarily pointing to God as the “power greater than ourselves”. However it can refer to any organization that He chooses to work through; from a school, correctional system, psychiatric hospital, or any one of the dozens (if not hundred) of Twelve Step groups that are out there. If we are truly putting God first then the next step comes into play: We make a conscious decision to turn our life over to God as we understand Him. Not everyone has the same views on God. There are seven billion people in the world, and seven billion views of God. And every single one of them fall short of who God really is. Yes, even atheists have a view of God, even if it is unbelief. However it’s funny that Atheists always cry out to God when they are in a jam. Atheism isn’t really not believing in God, it’s just not realizing a need for Him. But that is another story entirely. For Atheists, Step 3 could refer to your little god, such as the program or the Steps themselves, or even your sponsor.
Back to the holistic way of working the steps with Step 4. This is the fearless and moral inventory. It is probably the hardest step but it is the one where we come to know ourselves, and God, more intimately. It is also the most rewarding. This is the reason most people don’t get into spirituality, or true religion; because of the self-reflection. They are afraid of themselves and what they might find out; aka self-condemnation which is the root of may psychological problems like anger, depression, and anxiety. Once we conquer this step, the rest is easier. Step 5 is simply confession, to God, to ourselves, and to one other person whether it be a close friend, spouse, partner, counselor, pastor, or sponsor. The sixth step is being ready to have God remove these defects. This is usually the second hardest step to overcome and requires the most humility but the following step is humbly asking God to remove them. If you know anything about Christianity then you know about the belief that God has already removed the defects of humanity; a couple millenniums ago, which in God’s timing just a couple days ago - The point is that the Christian believer must take the position that these defects are slowly removed over a long period of time.
Even though God forgives us, we still have to face the consequences of our actions. This is where Steps 8 & 9 come into play. The first is making a list of all persons we harmed in our pre-recovery stage, be it physical or emotional. The ninth is actually taking steps toward doing this. We may not succeed at it but as long we can have peace knowing we put forth the effort. You pretty much have it by the time you make it to Steps 10-12. Step 10 is continual moral inventory of ourselves and Step 11 is a commitment to spiritual growth with God (He’s there even if we don’t acknowledge Him-guiding us).
You Are Comissioned To Heal Others
The last step is the spiritual awakening where we use the 12 Steps to Enlighten others. From the perspective of Christianity this is called the Great Commission. If we holistically work on our chief underlying issue, then we only have to work the steps once to live a more whole and balanced life. Often times the main underlying issue is learning to handle our emotions, or our thoughts. Stress is the main cause of many of society’s ailments. Anxiety follows closely behind, and this coexists with depression and can even be fueled by anger and resentment. The best way to sum up the Twelve Steps is to let go and let God and live in the moment. The latter is another spiritual principle called meditation, or “this too shall pass”.
- Erwin Bishop