The operative principle behind step one is honesty. If you cannot get honest about the scope of your problem, and honest about a sincere effort to resolve it, you will not succeed in your recovery.
A way to find hope is to realize that recovery is not a question of your ability. After all, there are millions in recovery. Your hope of recovery is not through ability, but through persistence and application.
This step represents a stage of action where you begin to employ the recovery skills being learned. Your job is to become willing to do the right thing. A simple way to view the 'next right thing' is to not engage in your old behavior. Have faith that your recovery will work.
This step is really about having courage to honestly (see step 1) look at yourself. Take a look at how your perspective has become warped to justify your continued behavior. You are in a recovery program to take an honest assessment of yourself. This is about having the courage to do that.
If you have truly done a thorough job of introspection and evaluation of your assets and shortcomings do you have the integrity to own up to them? It can be very difficult to be open and honest about your past behaviors and mistakes. You must accept them, and accept the need for a dose of humility.
Now that we have accomplished an inventory of the good and no so good aspects of our character and behavior, are we willing to change them? All of them? The important part in this 12 step principle is the willingness to let go of old behaviors.
In step six you become willing to let go of your old behaviors. Now you ask for help in actually letting go. Can you learn to forgive yourself?
We are continuing to remove the barriers that can block forward sober growth. Make a list of all those people you have harmed both through actions and not being present or living up to obligations.
Asking for the forgiveness of those we have intentionally or unintentionally injured is the order of the day with this step. TA key point here is to try to correct those injuries through action, not just words. It is highly recommended that you get guidance and help with this step. Asking forgiveness is not a gift to the other person, but rather an act of kindness to you.
To be human is to make mistakes. Hopefully our journey has led us to the point where we can readily admit mistakes and accept ourselves for being imperfect. We must also learn not to judge others but accept them for who they are, not our vision of who they should be.
Here we search for our path and try to become aware of our purpose in life, and actively pursue that purpose.
Having brought about a behavior and attitude change sufficient to remain in recovery; you are empowered to demonstrate the new principles by which we live in our daily life through example. At this stage, you seek out and are available to help others in need.
Essentially, recovery is a complex and dynamic process encompassing all the positive benefits to physical, mental and social health that can happen when people with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or their family members, get the help they need.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) offers this definition:
“Recovery is a process of change in which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
Expanding on this definition, SAMHSA articulates twelve “Guiding Principles of Recovery”:
Step 1: I admit that I am powerless over a personal addiction which is controlling my life.
Step 2: I have found a power that is greater than I am which can restore my sense of peace.
Step 3: I agree to turn my will over to the "Higher Power" as I define it.
Step 4: I will make a fearless and honest review of my life, my values, and my goals.
Step 5: I admit to a "Higher Power", to myself and to another human being, what was wrong with my choices.
Step 6: I am committed to having my addictive behavior removed by a commitment to a "Higher Power".
Step 7: I humbly ask my "Higher Power" to be with me as a constant reminder toward recovery from my addictive behavior.
Step 8: I will make a list of all the people whom I have hurt and will make peace with them.
Step 9: I will return to others what is owed them as long as it would not cause them harm.
Step 10: I will continue to evaluate my own actions and admit to myself what choices were wrong.
Step 11: I will continue to commit to my "Higher Power" through meditation and reflection, while following through with my recovery.
Step 12: As I continue my journey in recovery, I will share these steps with others while continuing to make them a part of my life.