12 Steps of Recovery
The first 3 Steps of the 12 Steps of recovery are a real problem, and need to be updated. In an earlier blog, I talked about the formation of dis-empowering beliefs, and at the foundation, are the very first beliefs, we form about the nature of the Universe, and whether it’s nurturing or threatening. It’s often said in “meetings” that it’s the spiritual hole within us that leads us to addiction. This spiritual hole has at its start, the dis-empowering belief that the Universe is a threatening and unfriendly place so it must follow that God doesn’t care about us. This one foundation belief about the Universe, has created multiple ancillary beliefs, even about God, that support and strengthen it.
The Seeds of Addiction
The more dis-empowering beliefs we have the more irritable and discontent we become, often at a very early age. It is these feelings of irritability and discontent that are the seeds to addiction. We either search or find by accident a medicine that gives us relief from these feelings. And because of our inability to delay gratification we abuse our medicine until we form an allergy to it. The allergy of can’t stop.
The Problem with Step 1
This brings me to the 12 Steps and the problem (as I see it) with the first 3 Steps. Step 1 states, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable”. While a new person coming in contact with these steps for the first time might not have a problem understanding being powerless over their drug of choice, it’s the “and our lives had become unmanageable”, where the problem occurs, especially if they are high bottom people who still have responsible jobs, families, houses and cars. If we just change the word “lives” with “thinking” it would be so much easier for new people to get their arms around this key point. It is so much easier to get into a dialogue about someones thinking being screwed up as opposed to trying to explain a life, that from the outside looks pretty good, as being unmanageable. To focus on the idea that it’s our thinking that creates our lives and it’s this thinking that has become unmanageable.
The Problem with Step 2
Step 2 states,” Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. This step is vague and misleading and insinuates that we need is an idea of God to recover. It would be easier to understand if it said “Came to believe that it’s only through outside help that we can be restored to sanity”. The point being that a sick mind, can’t fix a sick mind.
The Problem with Step 3
But it’s in Step 3 where most of the confusion lies. “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”. It’s this statement that insinuates that it’s only through putting the solution outside ourselves that we can find the solution, when the solution clearly lies within us. We need to make a decision to stop blaming the Universe and God for our problems, but to instead look inward on why we believe we are powerless over our own lives. It should read “Made a decision to learn and understand our Gods will for us”By changing the wording even a layman can discuss the fundamental ideas of a divine mind made in the image of our creator, who placed us in a Universe designed to grow man. This eliminates a “sponsor” quandary of trying to explain what turning your will and your life over to God means or looks like.
If They Would Have Just Told Me
If someone had just told me back in 1989, that the reason my life was unmanageable, was because of the dis-empowering beliefs I held, about the Universe and life in general, and it was these beliefs that were making me miserable, I would have been much better off. If they had just told me, that my drug use was only a symptom, of a serious thinking problem, I’d been much better off. And that one of the best ways to find a cure, was to find someone, who had recovered, from the same thinking problems I had. Instead, I went on a quest to find God, alone.
We can Change our Beliefs
The most affordable way to do this today is still, to find a community of men and women who have recovered from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. And that all you need (and this is crucial) is a willingness to listen. You don’t have to be like me and spend years as a dry drunk because you can’t figure out how to turn your life and will over to the care of a God, I didn’t even know. Telling someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that they need to turn their thinking over to someone else, as opposed to taking responsibility for it, is wrong. It’s through showing them, how their dis-empowering beliefs, create the life they find themselves in. That they have free will, and can change both their beliefs and their lives.
Stuck in the Past
These Steps of Recovery were written almost a 100 years ago, nobody today would suggest using a “textbook” written 100 years ago to teach people today. To insist that this is the bible of recovery is to be caught in a form of Narcissism, to ignore the development of new ideas and advances in science, medicine and psychology and to adopt them to an ever-changing world is a dis-empowering belief system that continues to accept falling recovery rates.
What can be easier to understand than this simple concept. It’s our thinking that is the cause of our lives (the effect). Our divine mind has free will to believe anything we choose. The Universe was provided to grow Man and produce what ever we plant. It can do no less. Gods will is for Man to prosper and be happy.
As always, thanks for visiting. Dave