Addiction recovery is often a long and challenging road. The effects that substance abuse can have on an addict and those closest to them can be painful and lasting. However, there is hope for everybody who has been affected by a substance abuse addiction, whether they be an addict or a close friend or family member of an addict. It is possible, through hard work and determination, for everybody to overcome addiction — even those who feel powerless against it and are beginning to lose hope.

There are a variety of resources available to people who are suffering from a substance abuse addiction. One of the most prominent and useful resources is known as the 12-Step Program, developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. The 12 steps outline a path that an addict may take to overcome alcohol addiction, though they can be adapted and used to combat any form of addiction.

These 12 steps are already widely popular and readily available to all who seek them, but they are worth repeating again and again:

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol* – that our lives had become unmanageable.
    1. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    1. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    1. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    1. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    1. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
    1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
    1. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    1. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
    1. 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.
  1. 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.

*Remember, though these steps were created specifically for alcohol abuse, they can be adapted and used to combat any form of addiction.

** “God” in this context can be translated as “Higher Power,” or anything that you believe in that is larger than yourself. The Universe, Nature, Energy, or any other religious figure are all examples of Higher Powers.