Do The Twelve Steps Require a Spiritual Experience?

There are a few goals when it comes to following a 12-step program. Not only is it meant to help you find a path out of the grips of addiction; it also helps people build themselves a good life within recovery. The first 12-step program was created in 1935 and is known as Alcoholics Anonymous. From there many other specific groups were created from these same steps and principles of living.

Do The Twelve Steps Require a Spiritual Experience?

The Twelve Step Philosophy and Spirituality

The specific wording of the 12 steps vary just a little bit between the different groups, but the base is the same for all of them. That is because the program is known to work. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are as follows:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. 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.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The word God in these steps should not be interpreted as something religious. It simply means something bigger than you. Everyone in recovery gets to choose what his or her God looks like and is different for everyone.

The twelve steps of recovery do encourage a spiritual experience, but it is not something that is forced or something to be afraid of. Spirituality and an understanding of a higher power greater than yourself is the basis of any 12-step program. When a spiritual experience happens, it is simply the result of doing these steps honestly and to the best of your ability; and the great news is that all that is required of you to do these steps is willingness and honesty. The terms spiritual experience or spiritual awakening shows us simply that a personality change has happened in a person that is sufficient enough to bring recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction.

Spirituality in the 12-Step Program

A spiritual experience is different for every person. Some feel a spiritual experience happen all at once as a sudden and drastic change of perspective. For others, it is something that develops slowly over time. When a spiritual experience like this happens, often the person does not notice it first, but other people in their life will notice it.

Some people even believe the general awareness of a Power greater than them is the core of a spiritual experience. Certain characteristics pop up once a person has had a spiritual experience that includes an attitude change, a personality change, an improved outlook on life, an increased ability to feel and share emotions, and an overall improved sense of well being.

Addiction and alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects us physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Addiction affects our spirituality in the same way it affects us physically. You completely lose your sense of self and no longer allow yourself to feel or to experience. You are spiritually dead and use drugs and alcohol to make you feel alive over and over. Getting sober and finding a program of action is what it takes to live a long life of recovery and sobriety. Garden State Treatment Center facility can steer you on the right path.