If you have been around the recovery community you know there are people who love
the 12 steps and those who don’t. I want to share with you some of the reasons why 12
step relapse prevention techniques are helpful.
Begin Where You Are At
The toughest part of entering recovery is realizing we were not able to will it away. No, it
is not as simple as “Just Say No”. The powerlessness of being caught up in an addiction
The first step of not only speaks of powerlessness but also looks to a Higher Power for
the strength to overcome. Here is where many struggle and even fight the 12 Step
Most people who are addicted have looked outside themselves in despair trying to find
someone to help them take it away. It is not THAT simple. Beginning a spiritual journey
is an important part of the first step. It is sharing the load we carried all alone. It is
allowing your belief in your Higher Power to assist you in dealing with the struggles of
Be Accountable to Someone
It is very difficult to look into the eyes of your sponsor and tell him you are doing okay if
you are high or intoxicated. Trying to deceive your sponsor is even more difficult
because they have been there.
Sponsors vary in their involvement, generally according to the motivation of the person
in recovery. If you want to stay free from your drug of choice GET A SPONSOR. This
means not just asking someone to become your sponsor but allowing them to speak truth
into your life. They will tell you things like: You need to get to a meeting, stop talking
and listen, or where has YOUR best thinking gotten you so far?
These questions are only to help you focus on what is important. You NEED others along
the journey of recovery. Arriving at the place where you are finally ready to put your
pride aside and allow others to help you is a major accomplishment. It is a strong factor
in relapse prevention.
Make Things Right with Others
Addiction results in us lying to people we care about. It takes us to places we do not even
want to go. The result is our offending and hurting others. The fourth step begins the
process of healing those hurts and mending fences as much as possible.
Restoring relationships is an important thing to do. There are circumstances when it is not
possible or is impractical. In these situations your sponsor can be very helpful in working
through the process.
This 12 step relapse prevention plan helps because you need people along your journey of
recovery. Those restored relationships help you with the important factor of forgiveness.
You need it from others and you need to extend it to yourself. This process works.
Work the Plan
There are 12 Steps and they all serve a purpose in your recovery. Do not get hung up on
rushing through the steps. This is not a race. Each step takes time, understanding and
support of others who have ‘Worked’ the step.
Working the step means you put effort in to understanding what your risks of relapse are
and how YOU can have a plan in place to prevent it. What is great about this is you can
develop a plan fitting your situation with the tried and true experiences of others who
have been successful.
Apply Principles in All of Your Life
In any good plan you want to see it implemented and sustained. The 12 Steps
recommends for those who have successfully worked the steps to take the message to
those in need of the steps. This is a way of giving back to others as others have given to
Another way to think about it is to apply what you have learned about your Higher
Power, yourself and others into all of your life. This strategy is not just for those who
wonder why 12 steps relapse prevention techniques are helpful it is valuable for anyone
who wants to improve their life.
Written by Wendell Montney