Some people have tried a 12 Step program and later say it failed them. Now, it’s true, everyone recovers differently but, if you’re working a 12 step program but can’t stay clean or sober, there might be some things you’re overlooking. Here are 6 reasons 12 Steps didn’t work for you.
1: You weren’t honest
The first three principles are: Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness (see #s 2 and 3). If you weren’t honest with yourself and with your sponsor while doing your step work then, of course you’d think that the 12 steps didn’t work for you. No kind of program – whether it’s a weight loss program or a program to learn a foreign language – works if you half-ass it.
2: You weren’t open-minded
Being open-minded is just as important as being honest (again, it’s why it’s one of the first 3 principles). As you’ve probably heard it said before, “Our best thinking is what got us here,” meaning that we thought we could figure things out on our own. And to no avail. Being open-minded means being open to learning from your sponsor and the program that there just might be a better way.
3: You weren’t willing
Many people say that the program isn’t for those who want it; it isn’t for those who need it. It’s for those who do it. If you were unwilling to do the work then, of course the 12 steps didn’t work for you.
4: You didn’t complete all 12 Steps
I hear a lot of people say, “the 12 steps didn’t work for me.” Then I ask them, “Did you do all 12?” and their response a lot of the time is, “well, no, not all of them.” Well, 12 Step recovery is called that because it has – get this – Twelve steps. It’s not called 9 Step recovery or 6 Step recovery. People who want to pick and choose which steps they want to actually do (see #6) will not benefit from the program.
5: You didn’t help anyone
When you complete your steps, it’s time for you to help another alcoholic/addict. If you actually did do all 12 steps but then didn’t help anyone, well then, it’s no wonder you think the 12 steps didn’t work for you. Everyone who works this kind of program and is successful has told me that it wasn’t until they started sponsoring or picking up a commitment like H&I that the ‘magic’ really began for them.
6: You did it your way
You might have finished your steps but, you wanted to pick and choose which ones you did to the fullest extent or else did them in your own way, despite what your sponsor was telling you. This is something we addicts and alcoholics tend to do in our daily life: we think that we know it all and can figure out “an easier, softer way” of doing things. We often think we are entitled to special treatment or exemption from the things that others have to do in their daily lives.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.