Step work in recovery: Step 11

Prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.

“The process of enlightenment is usually slow. But in the end, our seeking always brings a finding. These great mysteries are, after all, enshrined in complete simplicity,” says Bill Wilson, a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which developed the 12-step programme that has helped millions of people around the world to overcome their addictions.

“While working on Step 11, we come to realise that reaching out to a God of our understanding is also simply known as prayer and meditation. This can be one of the most effective means of building a relationship with our higher power,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“This process enables room for adventure, humility and faith. We have the option to visit every place that has anything to do with spirituality in our community. Some people I know love churches, cathedrals, synagogues and even graveyards. These are places where they feel divinely in tune. Others find that connection in nature, doing something they love, or through volunteering. 

“It is also highly suggested that, as you progress in your recovery, you enhance your life with the abundant number of books and publications concerned with AA, spirituality and personal growth,” says Griessel.

The spiritual principle of Step 11 is spiritual awareness.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 10

Continue to take personal inventory and admit when we are wrong.

“In step 10, personal inventory refers to emotional disturbances that can trigger a person to return to misusing drugs or alcohol,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

Watching for these disturbances daily – and taking a daily inventory of them – is an important part of recovery.

“Step 10 helps to keep the spiritual house clean. All humans and are bound to make mistakes, but owning up to them can quickly settle the issue. Rather than weighing on the conscience or building up to produce a greater consequence, the mistake can be corrected promptly and the problem nipped in the bud.

“Nobody likes to admit to being wrong, but it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery,” says Griessel.

In Step 10 we focus on the principles of honesty, perseverance/self-discipline and integrity. “The range and depth of our honesty at this point in our recovery is astonishing,” says Griessel.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 9

In Step 9, we focus on making direct amends to people where possible, except when to do so would injure them or others, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“The truth is that we would never have been able to sit down with people we’ve harmed to make direct amends without the spiritual preparation from previous steps.

“Step 9 can’t be contained within a particular time frame and making amends isn’t always a nerve-wracking, joyless experience. Often there is excitement about the prospects of healing a relationship, but, on the flip side, fear of rejection or retaliation is part of the process,” says Griessel.

She explains that the ultimate goal is to set right the damage caused in the past, with three primary concepts associated with making amends – resolution (to find an answer to the problem), restoration (to bring back to its former state something that has been damaged) and restitution (an act of returning something material or more abstract to its rightful owner).

“The spiritual growth we get from making direct amends depends on how much we put into our spiritual preparation and practice forgiveness, whether of oneself or others, and this requires tapping into our Higher Power’s strength and love and using it as a protective shield.

“The spiritual principles of Step 9 focus on humility, love and forgiveness, in the hope of moving on to freedom due to relief from guilt and shame; the lessening of obsession with ourselves; and the increased ability to be understanding, accepting and tolerant,” says Griessel.

Step work in recovery: Step 8

Make a list of all of the people you have harmed and become willing to make amends to all of them.

“Step 8 is when we bring other people into the healing process – the people harmed during our active addiction, those we meant to harm and those we harmed by accident,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

She explains that this step is about identifying the damage caused, being willing to make amends and practising by treating everyone respectfully.

“Practically, we need to start this step by listing all the people we can think of, even if we are not sure whether we will be able to make amends. The downside is that often the willingness to make amends to certain people is not there, due to resentment or fear, for example.

“An important concept in this step is that harm comes in many different forms, such as that caused by stealing or the harm done to oneself, such as getting a sexually transmitted disease as a result of unsafe sex. Deeper emotional harm is caused by striking the most vulnerable places of the heart,” says Griessel.

The spiritual principles in this step are courage, willingness and compassion, which are the opposite of resentment, blame and self-pity.

“When we have stripped away the distracting influences and have exposed the solid core of serenity, humility and forgiveness, we can move on to the next step,” says Griessel.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 7

In this step, humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

The spiritual principle linked to Step 7 is humility.

Humility is defined as a freedom from pride or arrogance – the quality or state of being humble.

By definition, humility is the very thing many alcoholics and addicts have been missing throughout their addiction. Pride and arrogance are the exact things keeping many of them sick for far too long.

“We practice humility throughout the steps. First, by admitting our powerlessness over the drink or drug, handing our will over to a ‘power’ greater than ourselves, looking deeply into our past and understanding our part in the resentments we held so close and sharing these indiscretions with another,” says Griessel.

“All of these are important pre-cursors to our biggest test in humility. For many of us, this can be difficult. These traits are the very essence of who we were until this point in our lives. However, if we are willing to move forward by trusting our Higher Power, we are promised that we will lose interest in selfish things and gain an interest in more healthy outlets,” she adds.

Griessel explains that this promise furthers the idea that we will become free from the bondage of self, allowing us to focus our efforts on others and creating a better life for everyone involved.

“We must understand that, as we take this step, all of our character defects will not miraculously disappear overnight. However, we are making the conscious decision to humble ourselves to our Higher Power and ask for guidance to become the person we would like to be.

“As we travel through sobriety, Step 7 is one we might need to revisit as new defects of character appear or old ones resurface. Whatever the case may be, we must continue to practice humility by asking our Higher Power for help and guidance,” says Griessel.

Step 7 prayer

“My Creator, I am now willing for you to have all of me, good and bad.

I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.

Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 6

In this step, we were entirely ready to have God remove all of these character defects, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“By now the person has developed humility and can see theirself more clearly. Becoming entirely ready means reaching a spiritual state of being, aware of the defects, but also growing tired of them as the person knows that only a higher power can successfully remove them,” she adds.

The difficulty is that defects are often ingrained into our behaviour and unfortunately our worst character defects surface in stressful situations.

“People struggle with understanding where their character defects end and where their character begins within the complex structure of their personality. However, it’s important to not get too obsessed and rather focus on the efforts and be conscious in the process,” says Griessel.

Spiritual principles in this step are commitment, perseverance, willingness, faith, trust and self-acceptance.

“Ultimately, working this step, the person develops a vision of the best person they would like to become,” says Griessel.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 5

In this step, we admit to God, to ourselves and to another human beings the exact nature of our wrongs, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“This is about the admission the person makes, together with the previous admissions of having a disease, needing help and that there is a Power that can help you.

“Two things that are important in this step are courage and a sense of trust in the recovery process. This will help you work through specific fears and go through with the admissions needed. Facing fears is essential in knowing them but, more importantly, in moving forward in spite of them.

“By making an effort to share your fears and by admitting them to the God of your understanding, the spiritual meets the everyday and the ordinary meets the extraordinary, which makes the admission meaningful.

“By surrendering to the truth, you will learn how to build honest relationships, which are very different to the relationships in addiction, which are mostly about taking from others through lies and manipulation. This uncovers the exact nature of your wrongs by identifying patterns and reasons for a common thread – this process is commonly known as a character defects inventory.

“It must be said that without the spiritual principles of trust, courage, self honesty and commitment, it will be impossible to get through this step. Ultimately. Step 5 promotes self-acceptance, which opens the door for further and deeper recovery.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 4

In Step 4, people undergoing the 12-Step programme make a searching and fearless inventory of themselves, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“The first question to ask when starting this step, is what it is that recovery means to you. Thus begins the journey of rediscovery. We can use the analogy of the onion peeling away denial, disease of addiction, character of defect and the harm caused to get to the core authenticity of the true self that is healthy and pure. This will hopefully be your spiritual awakening.

“Let’s look at ‘searching’ and ‘fearless’ as guiding words in this step. Taking a fearless inventory means going ahead despite our fear by having the courage to be honest and the determination to carry on even when it gets tough. This is where the hard work starts in the step work… by taking a moral inventory which broadly takes into consideration individual morality, values and principles of oneself.

“The inventory should be recorded which will include resentments, feelings, guilt, shame, fears, relationships, sexual relationships, abuse, assets, secrets and, ultimately, what it takes to move on. At the end of the day, it is about getting real with oneself, like taking off that continuous scab so that the wound can finally heal.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 3

In Step 2, people undergoing the 12-Step programme make a decision to turn their will and lives over to the care of God as they understood him, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“This week, we take a look at Step 3.

“Action is now needed after discovering the power greater than ourselves by making a decision to allow someone or something to take care of us, but not enable or control us.

“Making a decision can feel intimidating and overwhelming and if it is not followed up by an action, it is meaningless. Therefore, decisions taken during the recovery journey have to be conscious commitments,” says Karen.

“Those in active addiction acted in self will, being selfish. Like tornadoes, they whirled destruction wherever they went. The opposite is true for this step, where you hand over self will to God, as understood. You now want to stay clean, rather than wanting to use; and want to have a sponsor and go to meetings. The God of our understanding is basically a representation of the spiritual principles of the steps and it is important to have open communication with the higher power and allow all types of feelings in the process, whether good or bad. 

“Furthermore, the spiritual principles of surrendering and willingness are essential in moving through this step, where the hope of the previous step turns to faith which gives strength to continue to the next step.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 2

This week, SANCA Wedge Gardens rehab centre takes a look at Step 2 in the 12-Step programme.

“In Step 2 we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity,” says Karen Griessel, a Wedge Gardens social worker.

Step 2 gives hope and possibility of recovery as individuals find a power greater than themselves which is capable of healing hurt, calming confusion and restoring sanity.

“Furthermore, we learn to understand that insanity is defined as repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. The beauty of Step 2 encourages the individual to choose a power that is loving, caring and, most importantly, can restore us to sanity. The hope from working Step 2 replaces the desperation and no matter how painful the process of demolishing our denial, something else is being restored in its place within us,” she says.

It is important to remember that Step 2 is a process, not an event. It is a process of restoration to sanity where better decisions are made and, therefore, better consequences. Spiritual principles, including open-mindedness, willingness, faith, trust and humility, play a big role in this step. It is about moving on and working this step to gain hope and motivation to move to the next step in the recovery process.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

Copyright Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre 2016