The Benefits of Living a 12-Step Recovery Lifestyle
The fact that I live a 12-step recovery lifestyle today is almost as surprising to me as it is to those who only knew me ‘back when’.
I was the guy who wasn’t going to 'make it’ because I took things too far, particularly things that, when taken too far, can have dire consequences: drugs, alcohol, gambling, thrill-seeking, etc.
The truth is, I almost didn’t ‘make it’.
And while, at least for today, I have 'made it', there aren’t any guarantees that I won’t relapse and revert back to being that guy who stumbled into recovery some years ago.
What I can guarantee, though, is that if I don’t ‘pick back up’ – in my case, that would be taking that first drink or drug one more time – I will end the day the way I started it: living in a state of grace where I have the opportunity to feel good, do good, and be good.
That's a long way from where I began this journey.
Like most people I meet in recovery, I grew up wanting to be good.
I had dreams, goals, and aspirations.
But I was cursed – or blessed – with a progressive and potentially fatal condition which manifested itself in increasingly-consequential behaviors.
Try as I might, I was utterly powerless over my condition.
Like so many of us, I recognized the path my life was taking long before I got to recovery, and I tried mightily to change it.
As it became clear that none of my ‘solutions’ worked, I did everything humanly possible to live ‘in’ my condition and survive.
Fortunately, God had other plans for me, and through a family intervention, set me on a course of recovery. Along the way, I learned to live ‘with’ my condition rather than ‘in’ it.
The basis for my recovery is a 12-step program, through which I’m now able to live the dream of ‘being good by doing good’, for myself and others.
Those twelve steps are also the basis for my everyday life: they help insure I don’t fall back into the abyss I climbed out of.
What does a 12-step lifestyle look like? For me it looks like adherence to a 12-step program, communion with God, admitting my mistakes & making amends, and making an effort to reach out and help others.
It’s been long enough now to see real results: when I live that 12-step lifestyle, my days are better, my relationships more rewarding, my conscience clearer, and my life fuller and more meaningful!
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“I’m Michael and I’m an alcoholic”… I can remember the first time I said that and how odd and uncomfortable it felt. Not because I wasn’t an alcoholic or an addict but at that time, I hardly understood what that actually meant. Today I'm clear about who and what I am, and the necessity of living a 12 step lifestyle!