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Why are the 12 steps important in addiction recovery? An answer from a recovered alcoholic

Why are the 12 steps important in addiction recovery? An answer from a recovered alcoholic

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Why are the 12 Steps important to addiction Recovery?

Hear the opinion of one recovered alcoholic:

Through my personal life experiences and during the last 5 years of recovery one of the major things I learned was that the 12 steps are one of the key reasons why I am still here today. Without working the steps like I did in early recovery; I know my life would be very different today.  The 12 steps are one, if not the most important part of the program. The 12 steps are needed for anyone who wants to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. They are created so that we can see our part in certain situations and in turn change the way we act, react and think. This change is what's known as a spiritual experience. This spiritual experience I had allowed me to see the greatest changes in my life. I started to notice my family allowing me back into their lives as well as noticing feelings of happiness starting to return.  Without this spiritual experience, I would not be able to maintain or achieve long-term sobriety.

What was the hardest part about the 12 steps?

The hardest part about the 12 steps is simply just getting started. Most people feel like the 4th and 5th steps are the hardest part of this process. Honestly, those steps caused the most fear in early sobriety but once I started working those steps it turned out to be pretty easy and also showed me a lot about myself that I was hiding and refused to allow myself to see. These steps were not only extremely helpful but essential to my recovery process. For me, actually coming to the realization that I needed to work the steps or I was going to relapse and possibly die was one of the hardest things I had to accept. Not only in my head but in my heart. Once I realized this, all the other parts of step-work came relatively easily. Unfortunately, it took a couple of times for me to bump my head and fall down for me to come to this realization. If I could give anyone coming into this program first-time advice, I'd say that you don't have to learn the hard way. I hear so many times: “relapse is a part of recovery”. While that may be true for some people, it does not have to be part of your story. Give yourself a chance and work the steps honestly and thoroughly. After completing the steps, if they don’t change your thinking or the way you want to see life then you can always go back to the way you were living before. As it’s written, “rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”.

What steps do you apply to your life on a daily basis?

I would have to say I apply steps one, two, and three to my life on a daily basis. With step one I have to keep in mind that I am powerless over substances and alcohol and once I put one in my body, I will not have the option to stop drinking/using. I have to also remember that drugs and alcohol were my escape from reality and my emotions. Take those away and I am just as powerless and my life is even more unmanageable because I have felt everything that I was ignoring for years.  Steps two and three are very important to me because, on a daily basis, I have to keep my higher power in my life. I have to remember without my higher power I will not be where I am today. I also have to constantly look for the little signs to see what my higher powers will is and try to follow them on a daily basis so that I do not cause harm to myself or to others. When something feels wrong, that’s usually my higher powers' way of telling me it is wrong. I try to remain humble, grateful, and open-minded. When I reach my hand out to help the newcomer, I remember where I came from. The closer I am to my spirituality, the further I am away from a drug or drink. The one saying I was told in early sobriety that has always stuck with me was "if you expand your spirituality one day at a time the thought to drink or use will never return." For the past 5 years, that’s been true, and so I’ll remain on the path that’s working.


Colin is a powerful example of recovery working in one's life. If you or a loved one is struggling to stay sober feel free to reach out to Colin directly at: [email protected]. If you need immediate assistance call us at 610-233-4342. We host an AA meeting called ODAAT every Saturday night at 7:00 PM at Pennsylvania Recovery Center located at 710 Wheatland Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460.

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About the Author

Colin Dumoff is the Director of Admissions at Pennsylvania Recovery Center. He has been employed here since the company was founded in 2018. Colin does a little bit of everything with his vast experience working in the drug and alcohol treatment field.

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