The 12 Steps Didn’t Get Me Sober

I remember hearing this for the first time and thinking “Well what the bloody hell are we all doing here then?!”

Over the past few years that I’ve been ‘in the rooms’ (ie. attending 12-Step meetings), my perception and understanding of what the Steps, meetings and the 12-Step fellowships are all about has changed (pretty drastically!) and continues to change.

I came into ‘the rooms’ about four years into my recovery from drug addiction,  with a chip on my shoulder, judgement in my heart, and a need to tell anyone who would listen all about the shortcomings of the program as I saw them.

I harboured the belief that I had found the answer to holistic recovery through yoga and meditation, and I had the conviction that if people would just see the light (i.e. do what I was doing) they would understand the limitations of the 12-Step program that some were saying only has a 20 % success rate anyway.

I was intent on finding the flaws and shortcomings of the 12-Step program as I saw it. How could any treatment plan for a chronic disease have an 80% failure rate (rumour had it) and still be seen as the best option by those in it?

The first meeting I went to was for codependency. I was only there to accompany a friend who really needed help. I was fine. I’d sorted myself out and was now busy trying to rescue and fix others. With hindsight I’m now sure it was actually a difficult time for those people I was trying to help to have me in their life!

The Codependency meetings led to AA meetings and then Cocaine Anonymous meetings, and before long I was working with my first sponsor and reading the ‘Big Book’ of Alcoholics Anonymous. I still didn’t identify yet as an addict but that’s for another blog – ‘Who is an addict?’.

In the meetings I focused on the differences I saw and heard, not the similarities.

I saw cigarette smokers, food and sugar addicts, womanizers, coffee addicts, plastic surgery addicts, codependents and fitness fanatics, and I proclaimed that they were living proof that the Program didn’t work.

What I didn’t see was people who, like me, had been at the depths of despair, unable to stop drinking, drugging, gambling, or doing whatever other behaviour was causing negative consequences in their lives, and who now had freedom from those behaviours. They would say things like “I am so grateful for being an addict”, “I wouldn’t change a single thing that has happened in my life”. Seriously?! There was plenty I would have erased if I could. There was plenty I was still hiding and more than enough shame and guilt to keep me stuck.

It’s been a heck of a journey to where I now sit in immense gratitude and appreciation of this remarkable spiritual program and for the patient kind souls who have guided me, prodded me and mentored me along the way. (See my blog ‘A recipe for spiritual transformation’)

I now proclaim happily that I am without a doubt an addict!

And I am grateful for it and for ALL that has happened in my life.  It has made me the person I am today. I am able to live a life where I am becoming the person I always knew I could be.

I have trained as a yoga instructor, meditation guide and energy healer. I moved to Thailand and in my 40s followed the calling to change my career so that the lifestyle that was serving me so well became what I did every day.

I have worked for the past 4 years as a wellness consultant guiding people in retreats through cleanses, detoxes and reset programs. With support from my family, I went on to train with the remarkable Tommy Rosen of Recovery 2.0  in the USA and now work as a Recovery Coach. I have the luxury of being able to blend my two passions and also work as part of the dream team here at Miracles at Home Online Recovery Program.

There are days I take this all for granted and yet there are many more days when I reflect in disbelief and immense gratitude at all that has unfolded in my recovery and that this is actually my life!

The Twelve Steps alone didn’t get me clean and sober nor do they alone keep me clean and sober. The whole 12-Step Program including the Twelve Steps, meetings, fellowship, sponsoring and being sponsored, allows me to have a spiritual life, a connection to Spirit, the Universe, God (whatever works for you) and that gives me a life where I no longer need to or want to drink or take drugs, a day at a time.

I love the sober and clean life I have and I choose this life each day.

I got clean and sober because I had to.

I stay clean and sober because I want to.

The Twelve Step process of transformation is a path that leads us to a spiritual awakening.

Written by Kirstin G

Kirstin is a Wellness Consultant for Miracles Asia and a Program Facilitator for Miracles at Home. She is an R20 Recovery Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher.


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