Congratulations on being willing to take a look at Twelve Step Recovery! Recovery from what you might ask? Coming to live through a false self to cope with family of origin dysfunction and life's daily challenges and difficulties. Instead we seek to recover the "True Self" found in a Higher Power, wise teachers, wise friends (community), and wise literature. This was the revelation that began and sustains the great and highly successful Twelve Step movement.
There are dozens of Twelve Step programs that cover many afflictions such as co-dependency, workaholism, narcotics, even Clutterers Anonymous. The "Twelve Steps" began in Alcoholics Anonymous and is slightly modified to address each groups particular situation. These steps work to take us from difficult and dysfunctional ways of thinking, acting, and living, to fully functional and satisfying lives
As a result of growing up in dysfunctional families, we acquired many survival skills such as frozen feelings, isolation, perfectionism, fear of authority and confrontation and others that served us as children but become problematic as adults. For a quick look at these problems and how we recover from them please look here.
A very powerful program we have the privilege to be a part of is "Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families." Members were unable to mature completely due to family of origin issues so at times regress into a childhood state: thus the term "Adult Children." It is our personal experience that there is great healing to be had there.
In ACA there is much more emphasis on family dynamics of the inner child (wonder or wounded), inner parent and Higher Power (critical or loving) and the false or True Self than other programs that we find very enlightening and helpful. For a two page look at the basic dynamics at work in our lives as adult children click here, a four page version here, a ten pages of notes from the Big Red Book click here, and lastly for a longer account of our founding father's Twelve Step story click here.
It really is a heroic thing to take the step of faith and go to meetings, do step studies, find a sponsor, etc. We are often reminded what an amazing adventure and challenge it is. To get a taste of this story click here for "The Step Hero's Journey." For link to some very helpful information on the Twelve Steps and Traditions, Laundry List, Problem, and Solution, and where to find meetings click here.
There are many ways to find healing in Twelve Step programs such as meetings, step study groups, sponsoring, retreats, and other paths. It usually isn't fast, easy, or painless, in fact it can be a lot of very hard yet satisfying work, but you are worth it! For a longer look at the many possibilities and opportunities please click here.
Brene Brown has been a great inspiration to many of us as her books and videos really nail the how Twelve Step folks function and suffer. Take a look on YouTube her videos are viral. She has been studying connection many years and what she found was shame. Thank God the solution she also found is what we practice everyday - Wholehearted living through vulnerability. Her early book The Gift of Imperfection inspired this look at Brokeness.
You may have already looked at the "Super Powers" section of this website and seen how we can plug into the infinite power, presence, and wisdom of our Higher Power to help us through life's difficulties. Twelve Step is no different, and in fact what inspired us to link these essential virtues and principles to our Higher Power. Look here for the Twelve Step version of Super Powers.
Another "Sanity File" you may have seen is Sayings, Slogans and Mantras. These are pithy short sayings that can pack a lot of wisdom into just a few words. Our inner kids and adults like to have fun, and these are one way we do just that. Here are the Twelve Step slogans, but take a look at the Sanity Files Slogans to see various big fonts and colors these even more interesting and alive.
Keys To Recovery has a list of most of the Twelve Step groups currently available and articles of members experiences. Each group usually has a website with basic information, links to related literature, and meeting lists. Here are a few books of interest Codependents Anonymous Codependent No More also ACA Big Book, Step Study, and Laundry List Workbooks.
Here are some inspiring songs you may enjoy: Welcome Home Get Back Up The Broken Road Ready to Fly Learning How to Bend Alive Again Broken Wings