Addiction recovery is no longer limited to managing the addiction 'one day at a time'. Instead, rebuilding a life management structure that is capable of developing and sustaining health has proven to be wholly effective in permanently transitioning people with even the most severe addictions to live healthy lives. What Role Does the Twelve Steps Play in a Health Based Recovery? There is no easy answer to this. Determining the role that the 12 steps play in one's recovery would be the equivalent of determining the role that God plays in the lives of a thousand random indiviudals. There is no 'right' answer. Within our finite wisdom, the only answer that matters is the one that we connect to and derive value from. But unlike religion, the role of a treatment program is not to serve as your moral compass. It is not to tell you how to live; rather, it is to teach you how to live. It should guide you in developing and using whatever values you may embrace. This is the role that the 12 steps play within a health based recovery. If you derive meaning and value from them, then they are a part of your identity. Embrace that. On the other hand, not everyone derives value from the twelve-step program. If you are one who does not, then choose a recovery path that does not include the twelve steps. It's that simple. And do this with an aura of confidence...not doubt and shame. Allowing others to doubt your sincerity or potential because you don't follow the twelve steps as they have interpreted them is as misguided as allowing others to judge you based on your religion, race, age, gender or financial status. Such discrimination will still occur, but you have the ability to put such judgment into its proper context. Specifically, that they are driven by the ignorance of others...not your reality. Societies' Debt of Gratitude A special thanks goes out to the founders of AA, who provided an initial foundation for those who struggled with such social stigmatic issues to bond together for comfort, awareness and acceptance. Thanks also to the pioneers of Rational Recovery, for paving the way for those not comfortable with the 12-step philosophy to feel accepted. Were these perfect approaches? No, nothing is--including the workshops here. It is all a learning process...as outlined below in some thoughts regarding the authors of AA's Blue Book: "While the architects of AA should forever be in everyone's gratitude for such a revolutionary approach, and a pure desire to make themselves and their society better... do keep in mind that what they wrote back in the 30's was cutting edge--back in the 30's. With all sociological theories, an evolution must take place--and this is especially true in addiction recovery. So much has been learned about the human condition over the past seventy years that it is unfair to compare today's approaches to then. Not saying that some of their earlier hypotheses were wrong (well yes, some were absolutely wrong...but many continue to form the basis for today's recovery community)--only saying that the authors were at a significant disadvantage due to not having the benefit of knowing "what we know now". They were making things up as they went, based on their own intuition and experience. Well, that and a recovery model loosely based from another created in the late 1800's. But they did good. Not perfect, but good. You've heard the mantra, "Once an addict, always an addict"... Well, while such a statement is not technically a "lie"--as a lie implies deception--such statements are not accurate, either. Not with what we know today to be true of addiction. They may be accurate on the surface, offering a sense of temporary stability and identity...but they are offering the WRONG identity for permanent change to occur. We know this now, we didn't back then. So, absolutely read such books...and apply what you feel makes sense to you. But don't make the "elders" into something that they are not. They were people, just like you and I. And they were fallible...just like you and I. We, however, have a significant advantage in terms of all that has been learned of human nature over the past seventy years. So we have the luxury of taking the best of their work, and helping it to evolve into today's society. And that gives us a significant advantage in taking addiction recovery further than they ever thought possible. People have asked me if I think I know more than some of the pioneers in addiction recovery and I can only respond by praying with all of my heart that, with seventy years of additional life experience to add to their initial foundation of insights, I do know better. As should we all. And my guess is, if we were to go back in time, that would be exactly what the 'founding fathers' of AA would have wanted. For us to take their original concepts and guide the evolution towards a destination that they could never have envisioned at that time. If it helps, think of addiction recovery as a race across an endless plane. Not a race where we all start from the beginning and follow the exact same path. If that were the case, we would all end in relatively the same spot, determined only by our life expectancy. And seventy years ago, that ending was thought to be a diseased life where addiction could not be overcome--merely managed on a day-to-day basis. No, this is a team race...where each racer continues to chart a more direct path for the next--removing more and more obstacles for those who follow. Such an approach allows all of us to go further than ever imagined previously. But, removing such obstacles becomes a necessity--which is the purpose of this site. To help remove more obstacles from your path. Otherwise, people will continue stumbling over the same obstacles that those before them stumbled. And they will die thinking that they were an addict. They will die thinking that they were born an addict; they will die thinking that they were somehow defective. That they had a 'disease' which controlled their life. And such thoughts are all obstacles to making a healthy transition in life." --Jon Marsh Recovery Nation For comprehensive literature on health based recovery, visit RecoveryNation.com. All information, workshops and community coaching is offered free.