In the hustle and bustle of life taking time to work on oneself is a real luxury, so when the opportunity to do just that arose I grabbed the opportunity. So myself and three other recovering addicts journeyed to South Wales to attend a 12 step retreat, a long weekend to be spent looking at the 12 step recovery programme and how this method can be applied to daily life.
Free from active addiction now for 6 months I, like most addicts before me, have come to realise that in order to maintain the precious gift of sobriety, and to move forward in life I have to do certain things, follow a certain path. For a real addict of my type, and I am most definitely that, applying the 12 step method gives me freedom from the obsession, the driving merciless desire to drink. But the steps are much more than that, they offer a way of living which allows almost limitless growth, a freedom from fear and a peace that all humans crave. So in Wales, in beautiful surroundings and in the company of other addicts from all over the UK, I spent time looking at the 12 step method and what an extraordinary experience it was.
Something happens when a group of recovering addicts spend time together and the men and women who first developed the 12 steps knew this. Like addicts before me I have spent my life desperately trying to fill the gaping hole in my soul, through drink and drugs, reading, religions, people, places and things, anything that would take the pain away for just one moment, but all of these things could never heal me. But put a group of addicts together, where I could not find a way out of the hell I was in, a group of recovering addicts can. The steps method is a spiritual programme, make no bones about it, it is split into three sections; acceptance of who and what you are, a clearing of the debris of the past and once that freedom is experienced, maintaining it on a daily basis. And in Wales we did just that. At one stage and in one group I was overcome by feelings of sorrow and remorse, but unlike the self-obsessive and self-pitying sorrow I experienced whilst drinking this was a release from pain.
I could wax lyrical for hours on all the moments during the weekend, the closeness felt between all of us present, the laughter and tears, the glory of simply being well and alive. It was one of those magical experiences I will never forget. So to anyone who is struggling or simply wants a better quality of life the 12 steps can offer that, and then some.
Edmund – CRO
Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 3