The Twelve Steps of Christmas and Addiction Recovery

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Each holiday season can be a challenging time for many people, especially those living in recovery.

As you head into the final stretch of the holiday season, take the opportunity to reflect on the Twelve Steps and how they apply to the Christmas season.

Follow this helpful guide that connects each step with the 12 days leading up to December 25:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Remember your acceptance of your addiction and the hard work you have done to find recovery. Your acceptance and honesty about why sobriety is required to live a healthy, manageable life remains essential, not just during the holiday chaos, but when faced with daily triggers.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Connection in recovery is essential to long-term sobriety. Especially key is developing a connection to a Higher Power that gives you grace. Regardless of how you define and practice your unique sense of spirituality, connecting with grace through your higher power and others only strengthens sobriety. Use the spirit of the season to lean into that grace and extend it to others. It will make your experience even more meaningful.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Spirituality in recovery helps a person develop accountability to a higher power. This spiritual accountability can be extended through your recovery community and loved ones, help you let go of resentments and forgive yourself and others. This frees you up to move through the holiday season in peace.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

It takes great courage to admit our faults and our mistakes. One of the most powerful parts of step work is crafting a full inventory of our morality and embracing our past. In recovery, acceptance equates to being satisfied with yourself – just as you are. Regardless of past actions or behaviors, your work to find and live in recovery requires that you accept who you are, where you are. Use this season to make new, positive holiday memories that reflect who you are now.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

The practice of accountability is essential in living the Twelve Steps. Accountability comes from the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for your actions and your willingness to accept related consequences. Keeping in close touch with your sponsor and leveraging your higher power during the holidays will help manage the added issues and distractions that will inevitably occur.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

It also takes courage to willingly surrender the past, to relieve yourself of the characteristics that drove your reliance on substances. Step 6 is an ongoing process. Releasing self-defeating attitudes and behaviors frees us to expand our self-worth, and replace these defects with character assets.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Humility is essential in recovery. Step 7 requires that you fully embrace humility. Freeing yourself from pride and selfishness can reveal the beauty in your life and being you closer to your higher power. Embrace the season of giving, while letting go of prideful, selfish behaviors.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 8 requires you to make a list of all the people you have identified as having been adversely affected while you were active in your substance use. This can be a difficult process, but you must proceed to work through to the next Step. This is where the work you have done on the previous Steps becomes essential — it takes willingness, honesty, accountability, humility to review the who, what, where, why and how of how we have hurt people when we used.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Brave benevolence. Forgiveness. Kindness. All hallmarks of healthy recovery and of the holiday season. Give yourself the gift of mercy, and then share it with others. In recovery, working steps 8 and 9 can involve both giving and receiving mercy. As we make amends to those who we have wronged, we may also have the opportunity to show mercy to others in recovery who make their amends to us. Extend the beautiful act of mercy throughout your journey and receive its inherent gifts. Be willing to accept the outcomes as you make your amends. What is important is that you free yourself of guilt and shame through the amends process.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Honesty = Steps Four and Five evolve in Step 10. A key facet of our moral fiber in recovery rests in our level of integrity. Being honest with yourself started your recovery and staying honest and accountable with yourself and others will reinforce your success. Step 10 requires practicing honesty by taking personal inventory and when wrong promptly admitting it. In any season, at any stage of your recovery journey, releasing yourself from dishonesty by openly admitting fault builds your integrity and frees you from ongoing guilt and anxiety.

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.

At Step 11, you likely have discovered your higher power and formed a better understanding of that power. We now know there is a power greater than ourselves, and we have seen that power at work as we move through the Steps and our recovery journey. Self-reflection, prayer, meditation — all of these practices can help you move through Step 11.

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.

Step 12 encourages you to reach back and grab the hand of a fellow addict looking for hope and restoration in recovery. In addition, engaging in the sober community by helping others in need is incredibly rewarding and a powerful reinforcement on the road to recovery. Whether you are a sponsor or part of an AA group, use the holiday season to share your story, your journey and the tools you have developed working through the Steps to support others in recovery.

Recovery sets the table for you to enjoy a life full of joy. Your work to recover from addiction, practicing your program, working the steps, maintaining a body and mind clear and free of substances – you have put in the hard work to experience joy. And in recovery, relationships are stronger and more meaningful, small things can yield great pleasure, your eyes are open to all the beauty around us ­- the inner peace you have achieved enables you to embrace all of it with pure joy.

Twelve Step Addiction Treatment

For more than 55 years, Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery has embedded the evidence-based 12 Step program our treatment model. With care and sensitivity, our clinical care team, including chaplains, introduces patients to the Twelve Steps to begin a healthy recovery journey.

Additional recovery support is available through Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery, including recovery resources and opportunities that help empower your sobriety.

If you or someone you care about relapses or continues to struggle with substance abuse, don’t wait to get help – hope and healing are available at Valley Hope 24/7.

For immediate help, call our Local Admissions Team at (855) 544-8384 and give yourself and your family the gift of recovery this holiday season.