Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization well-known for helping people with addiction problems. The 12 step program is the operational basis for the organizations program. Countless people attribute their success to the program. Many individuals have incorporated the 12 step program into their lives for all kinds of addictions besides alcoholism and drug problems. Anyone who wants to take control of his life and behavior may benefit from following a 12 step program.
As suggested by the title, there are twelve levels to the program. The first step is to surrender power. In other words, the persons life spins out of hand when alcohol, drug or other damaging elements take control. People like to pretend that they can manage the situation. However, there are certain cases in which trying to effect any kind of control is impossible. Admitting that cold hard fact is the first step towards success.
The next two steps urge the person to attempt to reach a higher power. Many critics of the 12 step program claim that in this respect, the system is too religious in nature. The second step asserts that the person needs have faith in a higher power and the third insists that the person needs to hand his life over to God.
The forth step is the moral inventory. This step is another one closely affiliated to religion as anyone who has attended a confessional session will testify. The moral inventory leads to the fifth level of the 12 step program in which the individual honestly confesses his wrong-doing to himself, those close to him and to God as well.
The sixth step is ironically similar to step one. The individual surrenders power. Instead of being powerless to the harmful element, he admits himself to be powerless to God. The higher being is entrusted with the responsibility of removing the negative aspects from the individuals character. This passive approach to recovery has been under heavy criticism as well.
The next three levels involve making apologies and trying to compensate for the wrong doings the individual had committed. From there, the tenth level seeks another moral inventory and the eleventh step encourages prayer and sense of oneness with God. The twelfth level of the 12 step program promises a spiritual revelation and encourages the individual to spread the word of his success to others.
Critics of the 12 step program claim that the system is too religious in nature. Others criticize the program because the individual is viewed as helpless instead of pro-active. He does not really take matters into his own hands when he surrenders and leaves everything up to the mercy of an invisible higher power.
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