Spend time in any 12-Step meeting, and you’ll hear members talking about the importance of working the steps. Just showing up to the rooms, they’ll say, is no guarantee you’ll keep your recovery. But how do you work the steps?
First of all, how you work the 12 steps is less important than the fact that you do. Just like there are no two addicts or alcoholics with the exact same story, there probably aren’t any two people who have worked the steps in the same way, and on the same timeline. Part of the magic of recovery is seeing how it all unfolds – and heals you.
The usual recovery slogans apply here, too: Keep it simple, and remember, progress, not perfection.
To begin working the steps, you’ll need to decide who you want to work the steps with.
The most common way to work the steps is to work them with a sponsor. How do you pick a sponsor? Find someone in your meetings who has the kind of recovery you want, and ask if they would be willing to sponsor you. Most likely, they have helped someone work the steps before, and they will walk you through the readings, writing exercises and conversations that will bring you through Steps 1-12.
- Step Group
Sometimes, meetings offer to coordinate step groups for their fellowship. In a step group, you meet with several other people to work through the steps over time (sometimes over a year or more). You will likely read the steps aloud, have discussions, and work on writing exercises together.
- Therapist or Sober Coach
Less common is to work the steps with a therapist, sober coach or other professional – but it can be done.
The most important thing is to find someone you feel comfortable with, and to get started. If you’re not happy with your first experience, you can do it again. Working the steps is something that you can and should do as many times as you’d like, during a lifetime of recovery.