I sobered up in a long-term program where they spoon fed me the 12-Step principles. It was a very pure message… not the watered down version that some get in a lot of treatment centers, and unfortunately, in a lot of 12-Step rooms today. What I got was a pure message of recovery and was educated on the spiritual principles that come along with the 12-Steps.

One of the promises of practicing these principles in our daily lives is that we will recoil from a hot flame. What that means is that I will recoil from my drug of ‘no choice’. I say my drug of ‘no choice’ because I never really had a drug of choice. My drug of no choice was anything and everything that would change the way that I felt inside… anything that would change me.

About a year into sober living I went home to visit my family at Christmas. My brother, who in all honesty meant no harm but because he wasn’t educated in addiction or recovery, offered me a beer. My response? I waved my hands in front of me and said, “no, you go right ahead without me… and by chance have you forgotten that I came stumbling out of a 12 year addiction last year?” I took the opportunity in that moment to educate my brother on the way my brain works… the way every addict and alcoholic’s brain works. A drug is a drug is a drug, and my dear brother, alcohol is a drug. See, even though alcohol was never what I reached for first in active addiction, I have a clear understanding that my brain and body react differently to any and all mood and mind altering substances. Hell, I have 12 years of experience in that area and absolutely zero denial.

But that’s the promises coming true in my life, and I’ve been able to maintain that for over 10 years as long as I continue to work on this internal condition and maintain a fit spiritual condition. Some days are better than others, but the obsession to drink or get high has left me.

I have freedom today and that’s what sobriety is all about. Freedom is what I wish for everybody. Freedom, not just ‘treatment’, and not just barely making it. I’m talking about FREEDOM. There’s plenty out here for everybody.

I believe that the only thing wrong with the 12-Steps are people’s mistaken beliefs about what the 12-Steps actually are. People have been mislead, and that’s unfortunate. The 12-Steps and spiritual principles are as old as mankind itself. It has been proven over and over again that when you live by the principles that the 12-Step program practices, your life becomes productive. Each one of the principles when put into action and lived, are in direct opposition to the maladaptive behaviors that become a way of life in active addiction.

What are the spiritual principles of the 12-Step program?
  • Honesty
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Willingness
  • Humility
  • Brotherly Love
  • Discipline
  • Perseverance
  • Conscious Contact
  • Service

Dr. Bob, one of the founders of Alcoholic’s Anonymous, used to always say to ‘keep it simple’. In his last speech at an AA convention in 1950, Dr. Bob said this, “There are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis. One is the simplicity of our program. Let’s not louse it up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12-Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words ‘love’ and ‘service’. We understand what love is, and we understand what service is. So let’s bear those two things in mind.”

I believe Dr. Bob would be proud of the work being done at GraceWay today. GraceWay remains a true and pure 12-Step program, and since opening its doors in August of 2003, many women and their families have experienced the freedom found in sobriety by living the 12-Step principles daily.

If you, or someone you know is struggling with addiction or alcoholism, call us anytime at 229-446-7800.


Author GraceWay

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