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It Works if You Work It: Utilizing the Twelve Steps on a Daily Basis for Recovery

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Many 12-step meetings end by reciting a prayer or a responsibility statement followed by this sentiment, “It works if you work it, so work it you’re worth it.” This is not just said as an aside. It is a reminder that 12-Step programs work, but they work best if you actually do the work. This work happens by utilizing the Twelve Steps.

A Brief Overview: What Is 12-Step Recovery?

12-Step recovery, as it is relatively known today, was started roughly 88 years ago. It began when one man, down on his luck in Akron, Ohio, had to make a decision; perhaps the most important one of his life. Was he going to take a drink, or was he going to take a step in another direction and make a phone call for help? Some would say by providence, he chose the latter.

This person was Bill Wilson, and the person he ultimately ended up talking to was a disgraced alcoholic doctor named Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (they are more commonly known as Bill W. and Dr. Bob). Together they came to two ultimate conclusions about how they were going to stay sober.

One was working with another person in recovery (also known in the recovery realm as “doing service. Two was trusting their lives to something greater than themselves (some people call this God, others call this a Higher Power of their own understanding). From these two conclusions, the Twelve Steps were ultimately created.

What Are the Twelve Steps?

The Twelves Steps of recovery are perhaps best understood as a healthy “design for living.” Utilizing the Twelve Steps is a way by which people in recovery can live their lives in a way that is emblematic of the gratitude they have for being saved from a slow substance-induced demise.

While there are twelve of them, utilizing the Twelve Steps can be done in three parts. The first three are about admitting that we have a problem and accepting help from others and something outside of ourselves. Then the next six steps are about “cleaning house,” “clearing the wreckage of our past,” and making “amends” to those that we have harmed. The steps are commonly referred to as the “action steps,” because they take serious focus and work to do them properly.

Now, these final three steps are often called the “maintenance steps.” These are the steps that people with a healthy recovery practice daily to stay connected to their recovery and avoid a relapse.

It Works if You Work It: Utilizing the Twelve Steps on a Daily Basis for Recovery

The Tenth Step states that we “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” This means that as soon as we realize that we may have harmed someone we tell someone about it and if there is something we must do to make it right, we do it right away. 

It is this step that helps us avoid harboring resentments, and, as they say in the rooms of the Twelve Steps, “resentment is the number one offender.” That is because holding on to one can lead to discomfort and deception, and those can lead to a relapse.

The Eleventh Step states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” This step is about “spiritual hygiene.” It means staying connected to a Higher Power for guidance on how to live our lives and what the next right step to take may be. This spiritual step is a critical cornerstone in 12-Step recovery.

The last of the Twelve Steps states, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This is the service step and goes back to one of the initial conclusions made by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. 

By helping others are we ultimately helping ourselves stay sober. Why? It is actually quite simple. When we are focused on someone else’s problems, we cannot focus on our own, and relapse is much less likely to happen due to what is going on in someone else’s life than our own. Service gets us out of our own heads.

Utilizing the Twelves Steps With Lantana Recovery

While they are certainly not a requirement, utilizing the Twelve Steps is a crucial component of our treatment program here at Lantana Recovery. They are the design for living by which we model our own lives.

As previously mentioned, there is a “Responsibility Statement” read at 12-Step meetings that often precedes “It works if you work it. It goes, ”I am Responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of [recovery] always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.” We take our responsibility seriously because a client’s successful recovery is always worth working for.

Anyone familiar with 12-Step recovery is most likely familiar with the maxim, “It works if you work it.” This means that participating in 12-Step meetings is one thing, but actually doing the work is something entirely different. Working the Twelve Steps on a daily basis can be the key to a healthy and successful long-term recovery. However, 12-Step recovery is not the only option, and there are other daily practices that can help those who choose a different path. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with issues of addiction and need treatment, we can help. For more information on the benefits of 12-Step recovery, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.