I’m a huge fan of the 12-Step program. I don’t care if you’re trying to overcome an addiction to food, drugs, porn or puppies.
I’ve read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and I know all 12 Steps in theory if not actually in practice.
You see, I’m not recovering from anything but plain old life. I’m a “cradle Christian”. In religious vernacular that means I’ve been going to church for my whole life—pretty much cradle to now and most likely, cradle to grave.
Because I belong to the group of lifelong Christians, I thought I had it pretty well figured out. I don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t cheat, try not to gossip or judge others and love EVERYONE.
Unfortunately, in the non-recovery world, cradle Christian world, we don’t often talk about resentments. Those are okay. I can be mad at my neighbor for 20 years over an un-mowed lawn in 1992. I can hold a grudge against generations of people with the same name because an ancestor of theirs judged my cousin, aunt, great grandfather, etc.
I mean, I can love in the “we’re all human beings” sense and the “bless their heart” way all day long. Not holding on to a resentment, though. Um, yeah, that’s not really required of me.
Then I encountered a real 12-Step recovery program. A real one. Like, “I’m going to die if I don’t do this” program. I realized that anyone working a program had a big advantage over me. They had NO resentments. No burning irritation causing ulcers or heartburn. They let go of things. No wait, THEY WERE REQUIRED TO LET GO OF THINGS.
Wow. After working with an office full of people in recovery helping others find recovery I realized that I would rather be around a group of ex-addicts and alcoholics working a program rather than most of the Christians I knew, cradle to grave or reborn.
Once I realized that, I began to worry. Did they want to be around me? Was I a worthy companion?
I needed to work a 12-Step program.
Finding a sponsor was pretty laughable. They don’t really make a 12-Step program for life. Most sponsors were unsure how to help someone overcome the addiction of “a regular unprincipled life.”
Although, anyone familiar with the 12-Step program could argue that is exactly the point behind the 12 Steps and accompanying spiritual principles. It is a very clear way to live life. For everyone.
I had a student ask me during a lecture at our local college if 12 Stepping wasn’t an addiction replacing the original addiction. I was flabbergasted.
Who wouldn’t want to be addicted to honesty, integrity, courage? Addicted to taking a moral inventory of my shortcomings and character defects, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Addicted to immediately helping someone else, every time I got caught up in self. Selfish desires, wants, thoughts and feelings.
Resentments is my particular downfall. Others could fall on different steps of a 12-Step journey. Self-will, judging, gossiping, isolation are just a few areas that those in recovery work on EVERY DAY.
If only the world could be populated by citizens who worked a twelve step program every day as if their life depended on it.
My Life Depends on It
My life, my sanity and my ability to hold my head high and look my children in the eyes depend on it.