12-Steps and Recovery

I’ve received a number of questions and/or comments concerning addiction recovery. They want to know, “Just what is it?”

Many people think Recovery means the state you achieve by stopping utilizing whatever your addiction is. I’ve heard many such definitions of Recovery, but I am going to share with you my understanding. I think Recovery can potentially go WAY beyond just recovering from addiction. When I read the 12-Steps and carefully read the “Big Book” that most 12-Step programs utilize, the stopping of using addictive substances or addictive behaviors (e.g., sex, workaholism, compulsive overeating, gambling, spending, etc.) is just the beginning of Recovery. Ultimately, I think Recovery can mean recovering our underlying true nature, or Essence. What are the characteristics of our true nature? Here are some: pure, real or authentic, peaceful , joyful, existing in the moment, etc.

When we are manifesting our true nature, the above characteristics are not forced or faked; they occur naturally. When someone “works” the 12-Steps on an ongoing and thorough basis, in all aspects of their life, they progress in a direction that cleans out the survival-based misperceptions and habits. Since our personalities are mostly developed in childhood/adolescence when we are trying to “make it” in this world, they are usually heavily skewed away from our true underlying nature. Most of us have long forgotten our true nature. The good news is that it never goes away; it just gets forgotten about. I think that seriously working the 12-Steps is one of the ways to Recover our true nature. 

© Shelley Uram 2011