5 Reasons Why The 12-Step Program Works

True Stories of Addiction: Stephan

Stephan has tried to recover in the past but could never get the grip of it. He believes he has the best intentions, but always found his way back to drinking and using drugs. He was clean and sober for a good 9 months but did not have a 12-step sponsor. When you don’t have a sponsor, you aren’t really taught how to cope with life without the use of alcohol and drugs, so, when his girlfriend had a miscarriage he had the intentions of just smoking a cigarette but took a different path.

After that cigarette, when he found out the bad news about his girlfriend, he decided to go to the nearby college. A couple of days later Stephan woke up out of a black out in the dorms of Arizona State University. This made him think of what they say in the 12-step rooms; once you cross a certain line you are without defense against the first drink. After that first drink the rest inevitable; jails, institutions and if you don’t stop soon enough, death.

Not Taking Suggestion in the 12-Step Rooms

When Stephan first decided to get sober he heard people tell him in 12-step meeting rooms to get a sponsor and work the 12-steps. He did listen to what they said but didn’t act upon it and did the bare minimum because he didn’t feel like putting in all the work. Stephan even took a look at the 12-Step book and set it aside from his recovery because it was too long and there were no pictures. He would go to meetings and listen to what is being said, but would only focus on what he didn’t relate to instead of what he did. Since Stephan couldn’t find anyone he related to, he decided to sponsor himself.

He did well for 9 months, or so he thought. He would still attend meetings, make friends and act like he was doing everything he should and people believed him. He thought he was going to stay sober for good but was missing the true feeling of serenity that working the 12-steps comes with. He sat next to another gentleman at his regular meeting and told him, “It is probably not a bad idea if I play in traffic.” He was miserable. He didn’t want to keep living the life he was because he wasn’t working the steps with a sponsor and doing what he should in order to feel okay.

A 12-Step Sponsor

He didn’t understand why he was so miserable without using drugs or alcohol. He thought that going to these meetings would help. He didn’t understand that you have to do the work for the miracle to happen. Later that day, Stephan was asked if he prayed to a power greater than himself. Of course, he prayed but he didn’t really feel the prayer he was saying. He took this man’s suggestion and took time on his prayers, morning and night, and two days later a miracle happened.

Stephan finally felt okay. He didn’t have a big house, nice cars, or anything materialistic to make him feel that way. He believes it was God’s presence in this life that made him feel so blessed to be alive. He loved the feeling he had and didn’t want it to go away, so he went and found himself a 12-step sponsor.

His sponsor has him do some reading in the book and explained to him that he needed to trust God, clean the wreckage of his past and help others and that is exactly what he did so he didn’t lose the feeling of serenity. He learned that the first three steps are where he learned how to trust God, steps four through nine is where he learned how to clean house mentally, physically and spiritually. Then steps ten through twelve is where he learned how to help others find recovery.

Life Today Because of the 12-Steps

Stephan has an amazing life today. He has a beautiful family with a couple of kids, a dog, a career that is taking him places and most of all he finally feels as if he has a purpose in life. He is working with other men in recovery and continues to be of service in the 12-step rooms. For all struggling with addiction he says to get in the middle of the action, introduce yourself to people, get a sponsor and work the steps and watch your life change before your eyes.

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