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Substance Abuse: Growing Beyond 12 Step Program Dependency
10 CEUs Substance Abuse: Growing Beyond 12 Step Program Dependency

Section 20
Reframing the "12-Steps" of Addiction Programs

CEU Question 20 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Addictions CEU Courses
Psychologist CEs, Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

This section summarizes several versions of the twelve-step program. By careful comparison of these versions, you will note that the Rational Emotive Behavioral twelve-step version has the greatest emphasis on individual responsibility for personal change. The con­cept of spirituality has been retained in this version, but as a philo­sophic and ethical position rather than as a metaphysical position. In our program, recovery depends upon changes in your attitude toward life, rather than on a higher being’s good will. We do not mean by this emphasis to negate the importance of the fellowship of other recovering persons or the help of trained professionals. The aid that the recovering person can get from others is often crucial or necessary to his or her recovery. But no amount of external help, whether from peers or from God him- (or her-) self, can help you unless you change the self-defeating attitudes and behaviors that lead to and maintain your addiction.
As you read through each of these versions for each of the twelve steps, pick the version that you think will work best for you.

Step 1: "I admit that I have lost control of my addiction and that my life is becoming unmanageable." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous statement of Step 1 is: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable." Our short version of Step 1 is: "I can’t handle this bullshit anymore!" This step challenges the irrational idea that: "I can do whatever I want without suffering any serious negative consequences."

Step 2: "I believe that a rational attitude about my life can restore me to sanity." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version of this step is: "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Our short version is: "Rational thinking can make me sane." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "There is nothing that I can do to help myself be a more sane, more happy, person."

Step 3: "I shall let rational thinking help me." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version is: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." Our short version of this step is: "I accept reality on reality’s terms." This step contradicts the irrational idea that: "If it feels good, do it!"

Step 4: "I shall make a searching and fearless inventory of my past decisions and actions." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step version is: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." Our rational short version is: "I’ll take a good, hard look at myself." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "My past decisions and behaviors define forever who I am."

Step 5: "I shall admit to myself and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version of Step 5 is: "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." The short version of this step is: "I’ll admit what I’ve done wrong." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "I should be ashamed, embarrassed, and guilt-ridden for what I have done in the past and should, therefore, never let anyone else know about it."

Step 6: "I am ready to have rational thinking remove my shortcomings." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version of Step 6 is: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." Our short version of the rational Step 6 is: "I’m ready to straighten out my act." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "I’ll never be able to change enough to be happy without my bad habits."

Step 7: "I shall apply rational thinking to remove my shortcomings." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version of Step 7 is: "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." Our short version of Step 7 is: "I’ll think more rationally." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "I should have what I want when I want it."

Step 8: "I shall make a list of the persons I have harmed, and determine to make amends to them." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step version of Step 8 is: "Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." Our short version of Step 8 is: "I’ll list those I’ve hurt." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "Because I can’t change what I did to others in the past, I must always feel guilty and ashamed over these bad acts of mine and cannot possibly face those whom I’ve hurt."

Step 9: "I shall make amends, wherever possible, except when doing so would injure someone." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step version of Step 9 is: "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." Our short version of Step 9 is: "I’ll try to make it up to them." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "There’s nothing I can do to make those I’ve hurt, or myself, feel better, so there is no sense even trying."

Step 10: "I shall continue to take my inventory, and when I act wrongly, promptly admit it." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version of Step 10 is: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." Our short version is: "I’ll keep looking at myself and admit my faults." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "Now that I’ve done all of this work to recover, I should be able to relax and simply enjoy my life."

Step 11: "I shall seek to improve my conscious contact with reality, striving for the knowledge of what is rational and for the determination to act upon it." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version of Step 11 is: "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." Our short version of this step is: "I’ll keep learning to think and act more rationally." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "I already know enough about how things are or should be and shouldn’t have to learn anything more."

Step 12: "Having an increased awareness as a result of what I have accomplished with these steps, I shall  practice these principles in all of my affairs, and will carry this message to others." The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous version of Step 12 is: "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." Our short version of Step 12 is: "Helping others helps me." This step challenges the irrational idea that: "It was hard enough for me to change my self-destructive habits and I still need all the help I can get. Therefore, there’s no way that I can help others who may need help more than I do!"
- Peiser PhD, Kenneth and Martin Sandry PhD; The Universal 12-Step Program: How to Overcome Any Addiction and Win!; Adams Media Corporation: Massachusetts; 2000
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.

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Personal Reflection Exercise #6
The preceding section contained information about reframing the "12 Steps" of addiction recovery. Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 20
What irrational belief does Step 2 (I believe that a rational attitude about my life can restore me to sanity) challenge? Record the letter of the correct answer the CEU Answer Booklet.

 

CEU Answer Booklet for this course | Addictions CEU Courses
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