After Care Steps

If we are to experience permanent recovery from alcoholism, we must repeat, day after day, the actions that have already brought us so much healing. ~ 12 Step Literature

The first 3 steps are like an emergency room: we assess the damages, try to figure what is wrong, figure out what we need to do, and get plenty of TLC while doing it. Steps 4-9 are the inpatient part of treatment: plenty of work to keep us busy, one on one and group sessions, homework, getting sober enough to help others and be of service, and learning productive daily living habits and skills. Steps 10-12 are the aftercare program. We have learned to fly solo, but still need some support and aftercare plans. We continue to practice the daily habits and skills learned, and now we are asked to work with others beyond the group level. How AA differs from treatment, is that we will never really graduate. I say that I am “a recovering alcoholic.” Most days, I feel sober and healthy. On those are days, I feel I can hop, skip, and dance through the day. But as is the case for all alcoholics, no matter how far along we have come, there are trudge days. That is when we need to get support, get to meetings, and double down on service. This will get us out of self and our own heads.

A daily 10, 11, and 12 step process helps tremendously. We do not have to stay stuck. Find a time when things are quiet and the rest of the family is either sleeping, gone, or busy. Even if it is only 15 minutes: do it. This process is outlined in pages 84-88 of the Big Book. There are specific instructions to be followed and prayers and promises to be found. I had as an assignment to read these pages each day, do the process, and then call my sponsor for over a month at one time. It really works, if you work it. At the time, I was overwhelmedby a house too big and a job that was killing my soul. These pages and the process taught me that much of what I struggled with was the same as what most folks struggle with: ego, fear, and financial insecurity. Take the time each day to face your feelings/ fears and reconnect with HP and AA. Life is waiting.


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