Blog Entry

12 Step Recovery Programs

Posted on: July 25, 2008 7:57 pm
The 12 Step Recovery Programs have been around for a long time and have helped countless numbers of people deal with a wide variety of addictions, obsessive/compulsuve behaviors, and life problems.  I will present a Bible-based 12 Step program, but understand that secular programs are useful and successful, and I have participated in both.  I am presenting one option for those who want to undertake the challenge of recovery.

Since: Jun 30, 2008
Posted on: August 3, 2008 4:28 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

So what if this person in recovery doesn't realize that they wronged or hurt someone deeply and doesn't put them on the list?  Is recovery still true?

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: August 3, 2008 4:22 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

To answer your question Doc the answer is an emphatic YES! I myself had to confess unfaithfulness by me to my ex-wife and ask her to forgive me! I tried to weasel out of it with "Hey! We're divorced now!" I have my list and as I work step 9 from it (Making Direct amends to the person!) I make a little check mark!

Since: Jun 30, 2008
Posted on: August 3, 2008 3:47 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

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


Matthew 5:23,24
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

Luke 6:31
"Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Romans 12:17-21
"Don't pay back evil with evil. Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right. If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can. My friends, don't try to get even. Leave room for God to show His anger. It is written, ‘I am the One who judges people. I will pay them back,' says the Lord. Do just the opposite. Scripture says, ‘If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, given them something to drink. By doing these things, you will pile up burning coals on their heads.  Don let evil overcome you. Overcome evil by doing good."

Step 8 Scripture Study 2

Leviticus 6:1-5

"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, or is he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely--in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins, then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has deceitfully obtained, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, or all that about which he has sworn falsely.  He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering."

The principle of making amends goes a long way back in scriptures. This passage is from the book of Leviticus, one of the books of the law written by Moses and is one of numerous passages from that book that tell of the requirements of the law of amends. In this case, it is for the sin of stealing, cheating or making a gain from threats or lies. The command is to make amends by returning the amount to the person and then also pay an additional 20% of the value of the item. In addition, it is necessary to bring an offering to the priest for this sin, a trespass offering. If we are a believer in Christ, then first of all we might give praise to God that Jesus has made this sacrifice on our behalf. We should realize that this grace for us cost a tremendous price for Christ and we should not take that lightly. If we are a Christian, then we believe that there has been a new dispensation, a new covenant between God and his people as given in the New Testament. However, the character of God remains the same in the New Testament and the Old Testament. It is the same God who is revealing Himself in both places. Nothing in the New Testament has overridden this principle, and in fact we are told in the New Testament that our righteousness should "exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees" (Matthew 5:20). It would seem entirely appropriate, and would be pleasing to God if we took this principle of making amends from the book of Leviticus and applied it in our life. In verse 6:7, we are told that after this making of amends in our life that there would be forgiveness. We should not be surprised, then, that in the process of making amends, we too find a peace and forgiveness that we had never known before.

Step 8 Scripture Study 3

2 Samuel 12:1-13

"Then the Lord sent Nathan to David.  And he came to him, and said to him:  'There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds.  But the poor man had nothing, except one little lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children  It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a child to him.  And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.'  Then David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, 'As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!  And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.'  Then Nathan said to David, 'You are the man!  Thus says the Lord God of Isreal:  I anointed you king over Isreal, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.  I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Isreal and Judah.  And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!  Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?  You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.  Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.  Thus says the Lord:  Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.  For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Isreal, before the sun.'  then David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.'  And Nathan said to David, 'The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.' "

In this passages, we have an example of what might be called "forced amends;" it was based more on the judgment of God than the willingness of man's heart. David has committed adultery with Bathsheba and has had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed in battle in order to cover up David's sin. When Nathan the prophet makes a parable for what David has done, then David becomes infuriated and sees the great injustice of it all and says that the amends should be fourfold. Then Nathan utters those lines that have been used in many literary works since "Thou art the man."

Indeed, our sin may or may not be the same as David's, but as an addict, we can surely find instances where someone can point to us and say, "Thou art the man" (or woman). We are guilty of taking the goodness and grace of God and of others and abusing it, ignoring it, or manipulating it into something selfish, arrogant, ugly, and evil.

We are the man. In this case, David had to pay fourfold for his sin, just as he himself had proclaimed in his judgment. In David's case, the judgment involved violence not departing from his own house and sexual immorality being rampant in his own family and David's shame made public to Israel. In this we see that God is a God of justice in spite of what relationship we may or may not have had with God before.  If we are believers in Christ, then we can legitimately hope for mercy through the blood of Christ. At the same time, the same God is the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament so we can legitimately expect judgment mixed with this mercy as well. In reading through the events that followed in David's life, it might be surmised that had David been more diligent in rooting out sin and become more aware of the sin in his life and those around him (for becoming aware of sin in our own lives and the lives of others can often go hand in hand), then we can imagine that some of the devastation might have been avoided later in his life.

That is what we might hope for in Christ--that by His grace we can be more diligent and careful and effective in rooting out sin in our lives and to see it more accurately in the world around us. We have this added grace through Christ. But amends still need to be made, consequences still need to be endured as we remain faithful to Christ, God will still need to prune us to bear fruit for Him. If we willingly embrace the notion of making amends and consciously make that effort, then that can open up a window for God's mercy and grace to flow in our lives and even possibly allow us to avoid some judgment from the Lord. At the very least, we can grow in Christ and our knowledge of Him as we endure whatever sufferings may come into our lives.


Doctor Wilbur wonders how long it takes for a person working the program to get to this step and if  these recovering people actually do it?

Step 8 Scripture Study 1

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: August 3, 2008 3:37 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Even with all the work of scripture study and the effort of working the 12 steps I can very easily lapse into the old behavior which kept me from progressing in life. I have a tendency to say "I didn't drink or use today so I don't have to do anything else!" This is why in recovery we need the fellowship of others so that they might see the signs of complacency! I was brought to the realization that I had LOTS of work to do recently by my dearest friend on this planet. I was kind of angry at first but then I realized that a TRUE friend tells what they observe in us and warn us lovingly that we are in error.

To This dear friend let me say, Thank God for you and please forgive me for getting snippy with you. I have no idea why I can converse with someone for hours and forget all the praise and encouragement I get from them while getting my innards all twisted up over a one sentence (And very justified!) criticism. 

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: August 2, 2008 1:42 am

12 Step Recovery Programs

I would also like to relate that in my experience the  12 Steps are not a "One and Done" thing. Each of the steps can (And Have!) present themselves to be worked in my life in any number of ways. In my humble opinion the steps and the Bible verses KIR sites in relation to them. Are meant to hault a pattern of desructive behavior and to put in place a new constructive way of life more in tune with God. This takes practice! (Hence the term "12 Steps" as opposed to "12 Elevators"!) The practice is the application of the steps and the scriptures to our lives!

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2008 8:34 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Thanks, Cblue, that's what we are here for and that's what this blog is meant to do.  Glad you had the pages saved and could get them back to me! Sure would have been a lot of researching and retyping!  If the Lord brings you to it, He'll bring you through it!  Please feel free to share your ideas and studies as you feel led. 

Much love in Christ, my dear friend,


Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2008 8:06 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

My Dear friend KIR,

Any help I can be to anyone in this area will be but a small token of my esteem and my gratitude to you for assembling these passages and explanations of the 12 steps. As I said, I used them and still do every day. They are vital to my progress both as a recovering Alcoholic and to my growth as a fledgling Christian. Keep it up! Many people read but don't post! I hope this blog helps someone like it helped me. Only to happy to oblige. I had them saved to my Hard drive and look them up a lot!  

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2008 12:36 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 12 Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to other addicts, other people in general, and to practice these principles in all our daily affairs.

Step Twelve: A Closer Look

Having Had a Spiritual Awakening

The primary change that the Twelve Steps make possible is a spiritual awakening. Many of us have been asleep--spiritually asleep. Now we are waking up. We are more alert, and we can see some remarkable changes in our attitude and behavior. It is not important to define precisely when or how we have had a spiritual awakening, or even what words we could use to describe it. Our task is simply to acknowledge, with gratitude and humility, that we have experienced an awakening. We were asleep. Now we are waking up. The Apostle Paul used very similar language to describe what is needed: "The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber....The night is nearly over; the day is almost here" (Romans 13:11, 12). It is good to be waking up!

As the Result of These Steps

The spiritual awakening we are experiencing happens as the result of working the Steps. A spiritual awakening is not the same for everyone. It happens at different times and in different ways. But each Step invites us to greater awareness of God and greater surrender to God. Awakening from spiritual sleep is a long process for most of us. But it is a rewarding and exciting part of the journey.

We Tried to Carry This Message to Others

Carrying the message of our spiritual awakening to others is essential to our long-term health. Without sharing what we have received, we will be unable to keep what we have received. There is a lot of truth to the old slogan "You can only keep what you give away." When we share the message of our spiritual awakening with others, we are witnessing to the reality of God's healing power and to the way it has changed our lives. Jesus put it this way: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

Before carrying the message to others, we need to be comfortable with our own progress in working the Steps. If we do not see positive changes in our own behavior and are not practicing the principles of the Steps in our daily affairs, our message will not be effective. In A.A. they say, "You gotta walk the walk before you talk the talk." If we don't "walk like we talk," what we share with others won't have any credibility. Telling the truth with rigorous honesty is essential when sharing our story with others. Our message needs to be a sincere testimony of our own experience, strength, and hope. We will carry the message more effectively if we stay closely connected with our own story; we dare not forget where we were when we started on this journey! If we forget our own history, we run the risk of losing compassion and sympathy for those who listen to our story. We must remember that we once were suffering, just as others are suffering today.

And to Practice These Principles in All Our Affairs

The principles of the Twelve Steps can be applied to every area of our lives. As we practice these principles in all our affairs, they will become an integral part of our lives. The important word here is "practice." We need to do what needs to be done. The Apostle Paul made the same point about spiritual growth: "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice" (Philippians 4:9). James makes the same point: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22).

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2008 12:32 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

Step 11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.

Step Eleven: A Closer Look

Sought Through Prayer

There are many types of prayer. Prayer can be intimate conversation with our Creator--a conversation that begins with God's invitation to us. God says to us: "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me" (Psalm 50:15). Prayer can be a means of sharing our lives with God in a way that makes us aware of God's loving presence with us. In Step Eleven we use a specific kind of prayer. We ask for three very specific things. We pray for improvement in our conscious contact with God, for knowledge of God's will, and for the power to carry out God's will. We do not seek though prayer to control the details of our lives--or the lives of others. We do not seek through prayer to have things our way.

And Meditation

Meditation is a spiritual discipline that dates back to biblical times. Meditation makes possible a kind of intentional and deeply personal connection with God. The experience of meditation will not always be the same. For example, during a difficult period in his life, the psalmist prayed: "I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused [meditated], and my spirit grew faint" (Psalm 77:3). But meditation can also be a joyful experience. The psalmist also wrote: "May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD" (Psalm 104:34).

The kind of meditation we find in Step Eleven focuses on waiting and listening for God in order to learn God's will for us. The prophet Isaiah talked about this "waiting" kind of meditation when he prayed, "Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts" (Isaiah 26:8). This kind of meditation is a way to listen to what God has to say. The psalmist suggests that we "be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him" (Psalm 37:7). In meditation we wait patiently and we listen. We quiet our hearts and minds so that we can listen.

To Improve Our Conscious Contact with God

Improving our conscious contact with God means that we seek to deepen our experience of God and to recognize God's presence in our lives on a more regular basis. As we look back over the work we have done in spiritual kindergarten, we can see signs that our conscious contact with God is already improving. When we started our journey in spiritual kindergarten, most of us reached out to God out of desperation. Now we turn to God not so much out of desperation but out of a desire to know him better. God has already helped us, and it is normal to want to know more about this Higher Power that has been so helpful. As we discover how much God loves us, we will draw near to him because of the serenity we experience in his presence.

When we develop a routine of seeking God's will for us, our ability to experience God's presence in our lives will increase. We know that God is always with us, but we are often blinded to his presence. The more time we are able to spend in conscious contact with God, the more we will be able to "see" God--to experience God's presence in the ordinary events of our daily lives. As we work on Step Eleven we will find ourselves saying with the psalmist, "The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind" (Psalm 146:7, 8).

As We Understood Him

This phrase is the same as we found in Step Three. In Step Three we noted that this phrase was not intended to imply that our understanding about God was very complete. It was intended only to suggest that we were to proceed on the basis of what we had learned in Step Two. We can now look back and see more clearly the truth of this. Our understanding of God then was quite different from what it is today. We have now seen God's power to help us. We are growing spiritually. Our relationship with God is changing. Our understanding--our experience--of God is not stagnant. This is very good news! The phrase "as we understood Him" in Step Eleven is another reminder that the Twelve Steps are a spiritual kindergarten. We are seeking to improve our conscious contact with God because we know that our understanding of God is incomplete. Here in spiritual kindergarten we need to be reminded again and again that our focus is to build our personal conscious contact with God. Our goal is not just to learn more about God; our goal is to be in conscious contact with God.

Praying Only for Knowledge of His Will for Us

Step Eleven is quite specific about the kind of prayer that is appropriate for us. We are to pray only for knowledge of God's will and for the power to carry it out. This is quite different from the way many of us are accustomed to praying. We may have prayed: "Oh, God, don't let me get caught!" or "God, please fix my spouse so that I can be happy." Some of us even prayed to be freed from our problems so that we could continue to act in the same way without any consequences! In these and many other ways we have used prayer as a tool to manipulate God. We wanted God to answer our prayers according to our wills and to increase our power so that we could carry out our wills. This kind of prayer is part of the problem.

In Step Eleven we learn a completely different approach to prayer. We pray to know God's will, not for God to know our wills. The first ten Steps have taught us that we are not wise enough or powerful enough to come up with an appropriate agenda for God to carry out. In Step Eleven we learn to pray for knowledge of God's will and the power to carry it out. This helps us remember that God is in charge, and it is our responsibility to align ourselves with God's will. God's agenda is what we need to seek and to follow. The Apostle Paul put it like this: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).

And the Power to Carry That Out

In Step Eleven we pray for power to do God's will. We are not asking for a recharge of our batteries, so that we can keep on trying harder to do things according to our agenda. No recharging of our batteries will give us the power we need. We learned in Step One that we are powerless to do what needs to be done. In Step Two we learned that God is more powerful than we are. The power to do God's will must come from God.

God has a long history of demonstrating his power through the weakness of his people. Most of us would certainly prefer that God use our strengths, our giftedness, our abilities--or that he make us stronger, more gifted, more able. But it is our weakness that God uses to demonstrate his power. God tells us: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). We pray for power to carry out God's will. But God chooses to empower us in surprising ways. In the vulnerability of confession we see God's power at work, transforming our hearts. In the humility of making amends we see God's power at work, transforming our lives. The slogan "Let go and let God" captures what is important here. Letting go does not usually leave us feeling powerful; it usually leaves us feeling vulnerable. But it is only in the vulnerability of letting go that we are able to let God's powerful and loving will be at the center of our lives.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2008 12:27 pm

12 Step Recovery Programs

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

Step Ten: A Closer Look


Step Ten encourages us to practice the spiritual disciplines of the Twelve Steps on a daily basis. Most of us would prefer to be healed permanently with no need to "continue" on a daily basis. All of us experience our healing as taking longer than we would prefer. But the behaviors we want to change have been with us for a long time, and change does not usually come quickly. It may be painful and sometimes embarrassing to admit that the same old issues keep resurfacing over and over again. But continuing to take our personal inventory keeps us honest--and humble. Patience may not be our favorite virtue, but it is essential for the healing process:

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. (Proverbs 14:29)

An alternative to patience is pretense. But if we pretend that we don't need to continue the work we have started, we are deceiving ourselves:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:8-10)

To Take Personal Inventory

The purpose of a daily inventory is to help us develop a disciplined program that includes the examination of conscience, confession, and making amends. These disciplines become part of the basic structure of our lives. By now we have used the spiritual disciplines of the Twelve Steps long enough to recognize that we easily retreat into old patterns of behavior. We forget easily. It's like looking into a mirror and then turning away. It takes only a few minutes to forget what we saw.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." (James 1:23, 24)
Step Ten offers a daily look into our spiritual mirror. When we find things that need to be changed, we make note of them and take action promptly. Taking a regular inventory of our activities helps us to see how we are behaving. If we are obsessing about things again, comparing ourselves to others, trying to control things, or engaging in other types of old behavior, our daily inventory warns us that we are reverting to old patterns.

The advantage of continuing to take an inventory on a daily basis is that we will be able to see our mistakes before we have a major relapse. In A.A. you sometimes hear the slogan that makes that point: "Relapse starts long before the drink is drunk." A regular inventory can also help us to identify areas where we are developing new strengths as God responds to our Step Seven prayer to remove our shortcomings. Our regular inventory should include a record of these signs that God is changing us.

And When We Were Wrong, Promptly Admitted It

There will be times when we will be wrong. We are fallible human beings, and we can expect to make mistakes. We need to realize that we will experience failure and lapse into old behavior patterns. Step Ten suggests that, when we recognize our wrongs, we promptly admit them. It is this simple spiritual humility that will save us from falling into the downward spiral of relapse.

Promptness in admitting our wrongs is important. One of the things we identified in Steps Eight and Nine is that postponed amends become much more complicated and difficult to make. We know from experience that holding on to anger and resentment is counterproductive and can be harmful to our physical and mental well-being. The quicker we resolve issues, the quicker we will find relief. Jesus tells us, "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way [to court]" (Matthew 5:25).

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