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12 Step

12 Steps and 12 Traditions

When it comes to recovery from addiction or alcoholism, the 12 steps and 12 traditions make for an interesting study. Both of these originated with Alcoholics Anonymous and have been widely accepted and adapted all over the world by many different groups.

The 12 steps apply to the individual and individuals, or sponsors that are assisting the addict or alcoholic achieve a sober and productive life.  These 12 steps are applied by the individual to the situations in his life that he or she needs to get a grasp on in order to have a fighting chance at sobriety. 

There are almost as many ways of applying these steps as there are sponsors.  This has an upside as well as a downside.  The upside is that the sponsor is able to guide and/or assist the individuals using methods that he thinks are best for that personality, or in other cases, using the methods that were imparted to him.  The sponsor could be very adaptable when it comes to his directions, or could be very much stuck on his own personal methodology.  What is often missing unfortunately is consulting the actual addicts or alcoholics understanding of the 12 steps.  Not the sponsors understanding mind you, but the alcoholic/addicts.  Experience shows that you can get most people to do something half-heartedly for a while using insistence or enforcing techniques.  To get someone to do something fully and for themselves and their own benefit requires understanding and agreement.  So throwing someone one into the 12 steps can get them started, but lasting results a much more thorough self-determined application and understanding

The 12 traditions are the rules and safety valves of the group.  None of us survive alone, and strong groups definitely play a role in and contribute to creating strong individuals and vice-versa.  The 12 traditions are what keep the group strong.  The 12 traditions are not absolute laws, but agreements between group members on how they choose to participate in the quest for sobriety as a group.  Most 12 step group that I have attended that were strong, lasting, and effective in creating sobriety have adhered pretty closely to the 12 traditions.  It is important in the 12 traditions that the groups understanding and agreement with these traditions is solicited.  Then the group as a self-determined group can best achieve the group objectives.

The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions quite definitely go hand in hand.  Most recovery comes as a result of one addict or alcoholic helping another addict or alcoholic.  In a group you have the group helping one alcoholic or addict to help another alcoholic or addict help themselves.  So in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions you have tools that go hand in hand to try and make dent in the epidemic of addiction and alcoholism sweeping the world.

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