The last question submitted to the men’s discussion group,
had a lot of discussion. Thanks everyone who participated and shared their experience, strength and hope with the group.
Today’s question is a tough one – one that many of us may have had at some point in our process, or even one that some of us have today. In fact, it’s one that we’ve discussed a little bit before.
The summarized question, to me at least, is this:
Are the 12 Steps Really for Me?
When am I DONE working this recovery stuff and focus on other things?
Thanks to the man who was vulnerable enough to share his thoughts and fears openly. Here’s what he had to say:
It’s been a roller coaster emotionally.
My work on the steps is very half-A-ed…there are things I get hung up on with the 12 steps.
I am gradually developing an appreciation for the principles, but I struggle finding balance in the program.
Many times I feel more depressed and discouraged working the steps.
Anticipation of the impending daily reopening of the wound seems to make me more irritable. Honestly, it could be because I haven’t been doing it right, but whatever the reason, I have trust issues.
Did you ever feel that way at the beginning?
Did it take time to buy into the culture and the jargon or the rigidity of the 12 Steps & practices?
Another concern I’ve been trying to get over is we all have such similar character defects, and it sometimes feels like the blessings that come from saying “me too,” are best right at the start of healing, but then afterward, sitting in it and pulling it out time and time again, seems like it’s almost validating to my defects. It’s expected that I will struggle in those areas and also that I will never recover, it’s how I belong to this group; it’s my nature as an addict.
If I start to feel like the Lord is blessing, teaching, and healing me so I can move on to other lessons, I believe the group mentality would remind me that I’m getting over-confident because I haven’t done the steps in the same sequence as they did, and I haven’t felt the pain and that I should continue to pull out my past mistakes and feel afraid of failing.
Shouldn’t there be a point where I simply move on and think about other things because my nature has changed?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m there, I just get afraid that the structure and rigidity of the program makes some of those principles seem artificial, forced, or lose context. It makes more sense to me that all the principles would ebb and flow all day long and that they all need each other at the same time in order to work and make sense.
As you can see, this man has a few questions. I’m not really sure which is the best one to address first.
I did do a bit of research on the phrase: “do the 12 steps work” and, as you can imagine, found lots of pros and probably more cons on the topic. Ironically, the cons are mostly written by therapists who have a “better way” or a “new and improved” way of dealing with addiction in all of its forms…
What’s been your experience?
How would you answer the questions from this brother?
How have the 12 Steps worked for you? Or have they?