The 12 Steps for Everyone- Step 12

Today, we will finish up with the 12 Steps of Recovery, discussing the 12th and final step.  Remember that utilizing these steps in everyday life is for everyone-- not just someone with an addiction! Step 12:  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts (people), and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Step 12 is not just about a spiritual awakening-- the message in this step really focuses on the importance of fellowship and relationships with others that promote an act of service.  Healing any emotional pain happens most effectively in the loving presence of others and in our safest relationships.  This step encourages the act of being there for others when they are going through a difficult time and allowing them a safe place to heal in the presence of your strength.  It doesn't mean giving advice (even though that might sometimes be asked of you), and it doesn't mean trying to rescue someone from working through something they need to work through on their own.  It simply means "being there", being real, present and authentic.  While we don't recommend trying to help someone who won't help themselves, it is important to "give back" and being there for others in their time of need (with healthy boundaries, of course!).  Doing this is two-fold-- it allows the other person to feel like they are not alone in their pain, AND it allows the giver to feel a sense of purpose by giving back. The other theme surrounding this step I think is important, is the idea of fellowship and accountability.  What better place to be held accountable than in the healing presence of others who find it just as important to BE accountable!  Have you ever been in a situation where you are with a friend, relative, or loved one, and you have a decision to make?  This doesn't even have to be a huge life decision (Hmmm... should I buy that new outfit, even though I don't need it?  Should I eat that last piece of chocolate or have another glass of wine?).  Are you more likely to make a healthy decision when you are around someone who is healthy (and holds themselves accountable) or unhealthy? The effects of "modeling" begin in our earliest relationships in life, and continue throughout the rest of our lives. I think it's more likely that when we surround ourselves with healthy people, we are more likely to make healthier decisions by feeding off their healthiness.  This step encourages the modeling of this "in all our affairs"... not just the one behavior we are most focused on changing.

So, have you found the steps applicable in your own life?  We hope they have helped you in your own journey towards becoming a healthier person!  Check back with us for next week's blog-- "Don't Drive a Relationship Lemon".  We won't give away all of the details this week, but we think you will find it light hearted, humorous, and applicable to your life.  Thank you again for spending time with Imagine Hope!

Resources:

The 12 Steps:  A Spiritual Journey by Friends of Recovery

Codependents Guide to the 12 Steps by Melody Beattie

www.12step.org

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.