The 12 Steps

This is the second article in the series, “The 12 Healing Tools“. These articles outline the things that I have found most useful in my journey to overcome childhood trauma and abuse, drug addiction, and debilitating depression.


By the mid-90s my drug days were coming to an end. I couldn’t handle the lifestyle. I was tired of chasing the white dragon every day. Tired of seeing my friends die. Tired of feeling like a total waste and hating myself for it. Just TIRED. Life was truly unmanageable as every waking hour was consumed by this substance. I wanted to finally be free from heroin and try to act and feel “normal”, though that was part of the reason why I started to use drugs in the first place – I always felt (and was told) I was ‘different’ and didn’t understand why.

Anyway… after several failed attempts at detox centers and 30-day rehabs, I was somehow admitted to Colonial House for a 90-day inpatient program.

Looking back, I can’t remember how I ended up there or why I even agreed to check in to a program of that length. I guess the grace of God shined upon me, and the pain got so great that I was willing to do anything to feel better. Needless to say, the program worked and I never turned back to drugs again.

A big part of the Colonial House program was going to 12 Step meetings (AA and NA). For those of you that are interested in reading the Steps, here’s a link to the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. [https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/smf-121_en.pdf] As you can see, it is a very God-centric program.

Even though at that point in my life I was still very “anti-religion” and mad at God (thanks to my mother pushing her extreme religious views on me while I was growing up), I went to meetings regularly for many years. I chose to substitute “Good Orderly Direction” for God and left it at that. I got involved in service work with NA and even sponsored a couple of people. I am eternally grateful that I found the support I needed at that point in my life through those meetings.

One of the biggest things I learned (many years later), is that 12-Step Programs recognize addiction as a spiritual crisis.

Addiction is a SPIRITUAL dis-ease and the 12 Steps seek to resolve this.

As human beings we are longing for Source, for Connection, for Union, to be understood and loved. We forget that all of those things can be found WITHIN and so we seek them OUTSIDE, trying to fill that void with people, places, and things. And it is a never-ending black hole of misjudgement. Of course, our entire consumer-driven society just might collapse if everyone knew that we are solely seeking Source and nothing more.

I have to say I didn’t figure out that key piece of the puzzle at meetings, or at psychotherapy, or at church — I came to that realization through the practice of Buddhist meditation and studying Vedanta.

 

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