Ready, Set, Work It! How to Work the 12-Steps for the First Time
If you are working the 12 Steps through Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or a drug addiction treatment program, congratulations! It may be a short or long process depending on how you tackle it. Overall, the 12 Steps offer you some very effective opportunities to look at the why and how of your addiction as well as your choices before, during, and after that contribute to the compulsive use of drugs and alcohol. This provides useful information about yourself that can be incredibly valuable in your recovery process.
Here’s what you should know as you get started:
1. Find a sponsor or therapist to assist you. It is a good idea to work with someone who has gone through the process and is knowledgeable as well as objective in their guidance.
2. Read through all the steps and learn what each step will entail before you get started. Know what will be expected of you in advance and ask questions as needed to prepare.
3. The first three steps may be quick, or they may be a huge stumbling block. The first few steps focus on making sure you have a positive mindset, and they discuss you and your higher power or God. The word God can be uncomfortable for many people. If it is, don’t be afraid to discuss how best to handle this part with your sponsor or therapist.
4. You may work 4th Step repeatedly. This step is essentially an honest exploration of your role in a situation that is having an impact on your life in recovery. Many use it as needed.
5. You may skip the 9th Step and go back to it later. It can be a long process to address individuals to whom you need to apologize or make amends. Some hold off and some take it slowly.
6. If you have questions, ask. The healthiest way to respond and address issues that come up while working is not always straightforward. It is a good idea to ask any questions you have as they arise.
7. Take the time you need. More is gained by a slow and thoughtful process.
8. Know that you can always work the steps again as needed. Many people return to the 12 Steps periodically in their recoveries as a way to reconnect and revitalize their recovery path.
Start with a Solid Foundation
For all the benefits that the 12-Step program provides, it does not constitute a comprehensive treatment program in and of itself, especially for firefighters who are living with co-occurring trauma-related disorders. At American Addiction Centers, we offer our First Responder Lifeline Program to firefighters who are ready to make a strong start in recovery by providing:
· PTSD assessment
· A treatment plan that is focused on first responders
· EAP/MAP interaction
· Access to therapies that are research-based and shown to be effective in the treatment of PTSD, if needed
· Family groups and therapeutic support
· A focus on the mind, body, and spirit
To learn more about our First Responder Lifeline Program, call (888) 731-FIRE (3473) today to speak with a treatment consultant about your options.