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12 Step

12 Step Books

A set of principles outlining a course of action for recovery from drug addiction, compulsion, or other typical behavioral problems is known as a 12 step program. It was proposed originally by Alcoholics Anonymous  or AA as a method of recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. This developed in to the 12 step books.   The method was then adapted and became the foundation of other twelve-step programs such as, Cocaine Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.  Summarized by the American Psychological Association, the process involves the following steps:

•    admitting that one cannot control one's addiction or compulsion;
•    recognizing a greater power that can give strength;
•    examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);
•    making amends for these errors;
•    learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
•    helping others that suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.

In the 12 step books, human structure is symbolically represented in three dimensions: physical, mental, and spiritual. The problems the groups deal with are understood to manifest themselves in each dimension one for one. For drug addicts and alcoholics the physical dimension is best described by the allergy-like bodily reaction resulting in the compulsion to continue using substances after the initial use. The statement in the First Step is that the individual is "powerless" over the substance-abuse related behavior at issue and refers to the lack of control over this compulsion, which persists despite any negative consequences that may be endured as a result and they can not control this at any time.

The mental obsession is mostly described as the cognitive process that causes the individual to keep repeating the compulsive behavior after some period of abstinence. The First Step of the life of the alcoholic or addict is described as "unmanageable", referring to the lack of choice that the mind of the drug addict or alcoholic affords concerning whether to drink or use again.

The illness of the spiritual dimension or "spiritual malady" is considered in all of the twelve-step books and is considered to be self-centeredness. This model is not intended to be a scientific explanation, but is only a perspective that twelve-step organizations have found useful in their practices. The process of working the steps is intended to replace self-centeredness with a growing moral consciousness and willingness for self-sacrifice and unselfish constructive action for the individual. In the twelve-step groups, this is known as a spiritual awakening.

For many the 12 step books are a very successful tool to use for a lifetime of recovery and should not be taken lightly. Drug addiction or alcoholism can be overcome and by using the 12 step books, the journey can be a little easier on an individual.

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