When we drink and use substances we became numb. The goal is to shut the mind completely off and escape from our feelings.
We are constantly seeking relief. For a long time, we did things that we weren’t proud of. Many of us had criminal backgrounds and a history of getting into trouble and hurting people.
Our drug addiction was expensive and so was our alcohol consumption. This caused us to act out and take advantage of people by lying, stealing, and cheating.
We didn’t feel a sense of right and wrong. For the most part, we didn’t feel at all.
Gaining Awareness Through the 12-Steps
After years of suppressing the memories of our actions, all those feelings came flooding back when we got sober. Suddenly, we began to feel guilt and shame associated with our pasts. However, holding on to these feelings and feeling sorry for ourselves wasn’t doing us any good.
Fortunately, we had the 12-Step process available to us. Upon working our steps, we gained awareness of our behavior patterns as a way of working towards change. We began to see the consequences associated with our actions and used them as motivation to grow.
The Fourth Step
When we got to the fourth step, we were able to list all of the things we felt upset about. We wrote down our resentments and our associated actions, taking note of how our behaviors harmed the people in our lives.
Upon sharing these lists with our sponsors, we learned that we weren’t bad people. We were just sick and suffering from a substance use disorder that was controlling our lives.
Eventually, the 12-Step process provided us with the opportunity to right our wrongs during steps eight and nine. We listed the people to whom we had caused harm, including institutions and/or corporations that we stole from.
With the guidance of a sponsor, we were finally at the point that we could start to make amends for our actions. This experience helped us to clear out all that shame and guilt that kept us drinking and/or using for so long. We no longer had anything to run from.
Living a Life of Recovery
After going through the steps and being in a recovered state, we found that we couldn’t continue to behave in the ways we once did. As a result of abstaining from drugs and/or alcohol, we were no longer able to numb our emotions, and the 12-Step process had made us aware of our negative behavior patterns and their repercussions.
Continuing to behave poorly would mean we would be welcoming painful feelings that could put us in danger of relapse. As a result, we became conscious of our decisions and actions, choosing to behave in ways that would serve us.
Doing so, we learned that living this way feels good. We were finally able to experience peace, serenity, and freedom. We had found a solution.
If you are struggling with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, or you are new to recovery and looking for support as you build a foundation in your 12-Step program, we are here to help. At Avalon Malibu, we encourage the integration of 12-Step recovery into all of our treatment plans. Our experienced professionals will guide you as you navigate 12-Step meetings and build your 12-step support system. Call us today for more information at (844) 857-5992.