The 12-Step Program is a special recovery program created to help those struggling with addictions to overcome and heal. However, the addicted aren’t the only ones who need healing. We are all struggling in one way or another and the 12 steps to addiction recovery can improve all of our lives as we strive to grow closer to God. Each of these steps can be applied to different situations such as pride, doubt, and even pessimism.
We are powerless alone, but with God life can be manageable. We must be honest with ourselves when it comes to our struggles and our shortcomings. In order to have a solution, you have to know what the problem is. When you do that, you allow yourself to start the process of healing.
In Alma 26:11, it says, “I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.”
God has hope in us. If we recognize that, we as well can put our hope in him. We can have hope that he will help us overcome whatever it is that we are struggling with.
Elder David A. Bednar said, “We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” (see 1 Nephi 1:20)
3. Trust in God
When we turn our will to God, we are “awakened to what we could not do for ourselves and what we needed God to do for us.” Life can be a balancing act, but when we have faith and trust that God will help us, we can start to act as He would act.
President Boyd K. Packer said, “Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him—without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege. In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one’s agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say, ‘I will do as you direct,’ is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more.”
Step 4 says, “Make a searching and fearless written moral inventory of yourself.”
We are not perfect, and when we take the time to search ourselves, we recognize our weaknesses—weaknesses that can be made strong.
John 8:32 says, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
In some cases, such as addiction, confession to a bishop can be a necessary step to recovery. When we share our struggles with someone else, we are able to rid ourselves of the heavy burdens that envelope us. Other instances though, may only require a self-confession. Being too prideful, for example, may require us to admit that there is a problem. We may also find it necessary to discuss it with a close friend. The purpose is to allow us to change and grow, and to let someone in on the process.
In Joseph Smith’s History of the Church, it says, “Let not any man publish his own righteousness . . . ; sooner let him confess his sins, and then he will be forgiven, and he will bring forth more fruit.”
6. Change of Heart
Step 6 says, “Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses.” We have trusted in God and confessed, but a change of heart is also required. It is a sign of true repentance. Grace makes up for our shortcomings and allows us to change.
We are told to “Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.” We can confess and decide to change, but it is when we humble ourselves that the Atonement becomes effective. As Step 1 said, we cannot do it alone. We must allow God to do what we cannot.
8. Seeking Forgiveness
Forgiveness is an important step. However, sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves. We may have doubted ourselves and belittled ourselves. Forgiveness allows us to overcome that belittlement and to see ourselves as we truly are—sons and daughters of God.
1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”
9. Restitution and Reconciliation
Forgiveness requires humility, but restitution is also required. We must restore what was broken by taking deliberate steps to fixed what was wronged.
10. Daily Accountability
Step 10 requires us to “Continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong [to] promptly admit it.”
Each day is a new sunrise and a new experience. If we are striving to do something different in our lives, we must make that decision every day. A journal can help with that process. You can keep track of your goals and progress as you continue to choose to be a better person.
11. Personal Revelation
“Seek through prayer and meditation to know the Lord’s will and to have the power to carry it out.”
As new choices come our way, we can use the clarity provided from humility and prayer to put God more in our lives. If we depend on him, we can focus on how he speaks to us, and make decisions that continue to bring us closer to Him.
“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do.”
To be humble, accountable, and to trust in God is a process that takes time and energy. At the end of it all, the powerful spirituality that results can be a power not only in your life, but in the lives of others. When we share this beauty and this strength with others, they too can pass it on. We all need healing, so let’s start.
Lauren is studying Journalism at Brigham Young University and considers the East Coast home. She has a passion for writing, photography, skiing, hiking, and traveling. She enjoys studying German and is married to her best friend.