The AA program was a brainchild of Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson, and through this initiative, they drew up the twelve step program which was adopted from the Oxford Group (VandenBos, 2007). The Oxford Group realized that problems that are caused by selfishness and fear could eventually be changed through the power of God by the four steps of absolution which are namely absolute purity, love, unselfishness and honesty (Ronel, 2000). To add to this, the Oxford Group also realized the pragmatic philosophy by William James and his doctrine on the will to believe which indicated that through changing one’s inner attitudes within their minds they eventually change the outward aspect of their lives (Ronel, 2000). Alcoholism is a disease like any other, as William Silkworth categorized it from a professional’s point of view (Hayes, 2000).
In my program, it was essential to allow oneself to be aware that they needed help because there would be no point in being at the AA meeting. It is paramount that one is willing to change or else they might create an unfavourable environment for the other people who are trying to get sober (Hayes, 2000). In our first meeting, we started by introducing ourselves and stating the reason as to why we were present at the meeting. I was able to introduce myself and said that I was an alcoholic and that I also used drugs mostly anti-depressants. At first and being a new patient I was very coy on sharing my story, and it took a lot of confidence to share a spec of what I had been through which eventually got me to where I was at the moment.
The first step I was told to undertake was to admit that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. This was something that I had a lot of time to think about because I could do my things in an organized way (Hayes, 2000). However, it was important because I wanted to stop consuming alcohol daily.
The second step we were made aware of during these meetings was that we should come to believe that a power higher than ourselves could restore us to the sanity and sobriety that we yearn for in life (Hartigan, 2001). It is important to note that AA is like group therapy and that one should be aware that they are not alone, and that is why there are all these meetings. The third step we made was to decide to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood him. This was important because there people of different descent in our meeting and hence the phrase as we realized him.
The fourth was to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (Hartigan, 2001). This would enable us to gauge where we are at the moment as compared to where we were a few months back; it is about progress. The fifth step in our meetings was to admit to ourselves, God and other human beings, the precise nature of our wrongs (VandenBos, 2007). The purpose of this step is to acknowledge that one is sick and sick with alcoholism. As we arrived at the sixth step which entailed asking God to remove these defects of character, we were told that in as much effort as you put God will also reciprocate that effort.
The seventh step entailed asking God to humbly rid us of our shortcomings in life, including the alcoholism (VandenBos, 2007). The point about this meeting was to encourage positivity among each other. Some of the people who attend these meetings have an underlying issue such as depression, mental illness, and having a lot of negative influence in their lives (Hayes, 2000). The eighth step was to make a list of people we harmed and try to make amends with them; this would be very difficult because alcohol ruins many families and relationships. Some people abandon their children for years, and it becomes very emotional to try and recreate that relationship once more.
The ninth step taught us that making amends with these people when it is possible because failure to do so would continue to cause injury to them and others (Ronel, 2000). It is of importance that one can live in their peace by reaching out to these people and letting them know that they should move on from what has happened in the past. The tenth step is to ensure that one can take a personal inventory, and they go wrong; they can quickly admit that they are wrong (Ronel, 2000). This is important because it will help one to stay in focus of their program and their purpose.
The eleventh step is to ensure that one can seek through prayer and meditation to improve their conscious contact with God by praying for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry our purpose out (Hartigan, 2001). The twelfth step includes having a spiritual awakening due to these steps and to try and carry out these steps in all our affairs in life. It is vital that one can know these steps even by having a light overview of the steps in one’s memory.
It is important to note that one does not have to be spiritual when they are undertaking these steps, and this is done so because it intends to encourage positivity in the addicts. It is also essential to know that persons who take these steps seriously become better people in life and they can restart their lives again. In life, it is good that everyone gets a second chance, and that is what AA does to persons with alcoholism.
Hartigan, Francis (2001). Bill W.: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson. pp. 161–162.
Hayes, Terrell (2000). “Stigmatizing Indebtedness: Implications for Labelling Theory”. Symbolic Interaction. 23 (1): 29–46.
Ronel, Natti (2000). “From Self-Help to Professional Care: An Enhanced Application of the 12-Step Program”. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. 36 (1): 108–122.VandenBos, Gary R. (2007). APA dictionary of psychology (1st ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
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