For a person at any stage of recovery, the Twelve Steps serve as a roadmap. For one thing, they help you find your way from where you are – addiction – to where you want to be – sobriety. Also, the Steps highlight important stops along your journey.
Twelve Steps: The Third Step
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
While the First and Second Steps dealt with admission and understanding, Third Step requires action. In other words, the Third Step means you stop holding yourself back.
If you are non-religious, you may think you have a problem with this Step. For this reason, the phrase “God as we understood Him” is especially relevant. To clarify, your personal conception of a “Higher Power” doesn’t have to be an all-powerful supernatural deity. It can also be any combination of:
- The entire recovery process
- The abilities of your treatment team
- The power of the human spirit
- Your personal support system – your friends and family
- Other people in successful recovery and the fellowship you receive from them
Your perception Higher Power is highly personal. In other words, it can be ANYTHING outside of and greater than your abilities. As long as you can turn to it for strength, inspiration, and motivation, that’s all you need.
“Turning your will over” requires you to four things –
- ASK for help – Above all, seek help from others whenever you are overwhelmed, stressed, or tempted to use or drink.
- LEARN to pray – Have regular conversations with the Higher Power guiding in helping. Specifically, share your thoughts and concerns, ask questions about anything you don’t understand, and always express gratitude for the chance you have been given.
- DISCOVER meditation – Reflect daily about everything that happens to you. Most importantly, consider what you have learned and what you want to do differently the next time. When you take time to process your experiences and how you feel about them, you learn to make positive actions, rather than negative reactions.
- PRACTICE acceptance – Rather than trying to change things beyond your control (your addiction, other people’s opinions), concentrate on things that you CAN control. As a result, you can focus your efforts where they do the most good.
Twelve Steps: The Fourth Step
“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
In the Fourth Step, you take an honest – and often uncomfortable – look at yourself, your actions, and the effect those actions have on you and the people around you.
Why is this necessary?
Obviously, before you can change your thoughts and actions, you must first identify what needs to be changed. This moral inventory isn’t merely about identifying your weaknesses – those character flaws that need improvement. Rather, it is equally important to discover your strengths – those positive attributes that you can build upon.
Your moral inventory MUST be:
- Fearless – You may learn things that make you uncomfortable. But when you acknowledge your faults, you can correct them.
- Searching – Carefully consider every aspect of your character – what you think, how you feel, and what you do.
- Moral – Measure your character against an objective standard of what is right, instead of what you want. Don’t try to selfishly justify unacceptable any actions on your part.
REAL recovery involves more than just abstaining from substance use. On the contrary, it also means making changes in your life that support balanced physical and mental health. This is how Teensavers Treatment Centers helps – by transforming your life.
For more than 35 years, Teensavers has offered one of the most-trusted addiction recovery programs in California. Teensavers applies decades’ worth of experience and the best evidence-based treatment protocols in a “total wellness” approach to recovery. In the end, teenagers and families struggling with addictive or emotional disorders enjoy restored sobriety, purpose, and hope.