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How Many Steps?
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Twenty-three years ago on September 3, I walked into my first AA meeting – Alcoholics Anonymous for those who don’t know my friend Bill. To make a long story short, I had drifted down into more depression than I’d ever experienced before and decided that using alcohol to dull the pain was the antidote.

I found AA to be particularly healing. I worked the steps. It was like being in church, but better because everyone attending believed they desperately needed a Higher Power (God/Jesus) to overcome their addiction/sin.

Once “cured,” I assumed I’d never have to work those steps again. But I was wrong. Working those steps a few times did keep me from drinking alcohol, but my issues went deeper. It wasn’t just alcohol, I exhibited other addictive behaviors. Instead of dealing with them, I began to withdraw from relationships. I was often angry and critical. And, it was getting worse.

Good Friend

A good friend at church noticed how much my reactions to things mirrored his own. We often compared how much we disliked parties and yearned for alone time and that sometimes we didn’t like people at all. He invited me to the church’s 12-step group. Having dealt with his own addictive demons of narcotics, he was qualified to lead the discussions.

I discovered the addictive cycle is made up of four steps: pain, feeling the need to act out, acting out and pain from acting out. Notice, “pain” is in there twice. I know where my pain originated in my childhood and I also know that Satan continues to tempt me with his lies.

I’m only a few steps in and I already feel a sense of peace – that I’m doing something to break up those four steps of addiction with God’s help and the help of a friend who’s praying for me and holding me accountable.

Whether you do the 12-steps with a group or on your own, working them has been a life saver for millions of people. Check them out at 12-Steps.  

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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