Many individuals feel trapped and powerless to stop using a substance or behavior to cope with their life and feel that there is no escape from an addiction. While many alcoholics or addicts are able to find treatment that enables them to get “clean” and free of the substance at first, one of the most difficult things for an alcoholic or addict to do is to resist cravings and temptation to relapse.  Without therapy and training to learn the skills that are needed to resist temptations to relapse, many sufferers fall back into the traps of their original addiction or pick up new addictions to other substances or behaviors. The 12 Steps were originally created by Alcoholics Anonymous as a means to deal with the disease of alcoholism and to achieve sobriety. Since that time, the original 12 steps have been adapted to many sorts of addiction, whether its addiction to specific substances or to a dangerous, compulsive behavior. The 12 Steps can help anyone achieve and maintain a life that is addiction free and help everyone in their efforts at remaining addiction free while they are recovering from addiction.

Many people begin using drugs, alcohol or some other substance to deal with the pressures of their life and then, when they see the effects of their use begin to pile up, their use increases and soon their lives are completely out of control. The 12 Steps can be a very useful tool in anyone’s efforts to remain addiction free. With the 12 steps, the addict is receiving education about their addiction and introspection to uncover the reasons why they started using addiction as a coping mechanism as well as taking steps to deal with temptations to use again and to start healing physical, mentally and spiritually from the disease that is addiction.

One way in which the 12 Steps can help those recovering from addiction is that they learn and participate in regular support group meetings to vent their feelings and discuss ways of coping with temptation to support one another in their efforts to remain addiction free. The 12 Steps provides guided meditation to help former addicts in their efforts to prevent relapse and helps the addict begin the process of making amends for the harm that their addiction has caused others. Both of these steps have a powerful effect on the spirit of the addict, and while it is usually obvious to many that addicts need to physically and mentally heal from the effects of addiction, the need to heal spiritually is often a an overlooked, but necessary, component of successful treatment for addiction.  The very first step of most 12 step groups is spiritual in nature, for it is the act of the addict surrendering their fate to a higher power to help them become free of the need to participate in harmful, addictive behaviors.

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