“12 steps that can save your life” by Barb Rogers
When you think you have read everything published about the 12 steps and you can’t possibly think you could learn more about them, I encourage you to read this book.
The subtitle of the book is “Real-Life Stories from People Who Are Walking the Walk” and that includes the author who has lost as much if not more than many of us out there who work the 12 steps. This book doesn’t necessarily follow anyone’s journey from addiction to recovery but gives examples in each step how someone successfully worked a step. The author includes herself in many of these either in telling someone else’s story or using her own.
It is a small book of 150 pages and it is divided into five parts: Introduction, Part I, the action steps (Steps 1 through 9); Part II, the promises; Part III, the maintenance steps (Steps 10 through 12); and the conclusion. Please make sure you read the Introduction especially if you are a newcomer and perhaps you are unsure how this all works. It addresses a question many who are not familiar with 12 step programs ask: Are the 12 Steps: a “Cult, Curse, or Cure?” The answer is actually none of these but the author has a great way of explaining these as others, especially codependents might use these to discourage the addict.
“12 steps that can save your life” is not for alcoholics only. As Ms. Rogers says, “Only the first step gives a name to the addiction. The following eleven steps are a guide that allows the addict, on his own terms, to discover the causes and effects of the addiction and offers him a way to keep the seeds of addiction dormant.” The author does list the Twelve Steps as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous because Step 1 uses the word “addiction” instead of alcohol.
Each step is stated and then we meet both the author and another addict who shares an experience within the step to make it real. This is the part of the book I truly enjoyed. It isn’t about the step or what someone thinks about the step. We see the action of the step through the experiences and strengths of another addict.
Between the action steps (1-9) and the maintenance steps (10-12) is my favorite part of the book: Part II, the promises. There is nothing I love more than the promises. Instead of just listing them, the author writes about each one as she did in each of the steps. I felt that I gained a better understanding of the promises because I was able to look at them through someone else’s eyes. In other words, we never really read what the promises mean; we just think we have or have not achieved them. Reading them as the author describes, it might amaze you, too, to realize that the promises have come true for you much more than you had imagined. Have you ever wondered why the promises were stuck in the middle of the steps? The author says, “The first nine steps will give us the tools to work toward the promises, and the final three steps will teach us how to hang on to them.”
Ms. Rogers writes as a recovering addict of 25 years but has not lost touch at all with what the program is all about. She has not forgotten the pain of addiction. I loved reading how the “Wizard of Oz” is all about addiction (I had written about that before but this is the first time I heard anyone talk about it); I loved her statement about the difference between believing and knowing God; and that she has added a few prayers (a couple that I did not know) within Step 11.
Barb Rogers is a true believer in the 12 steps. I am too. She writes “Does a 12 step program “always” work? Yes. There are those who have tried the program, returned to their previous way of living and said it didn’t. What didn’t work, though, is the person. It’s said the half measure will avail us nothing.” “The benefits of the Twelve Steps are in direct proportion to the amount of “work” you put into the steps.”
I would highly recommend this wonderful book. It is clear and right to the point. It is a great supplement to use for sponsees who are beginning to work the steps, using it in conjunction with the Big Book because it provides a living example of working the step. Like many of you I have read more 12 step books than I care to mention. No matter how many you have read, read one more, “12 steps that can save your life”. It makes the steps and promises come alive and reminds us it works IF you work it!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
“12 steps that can save your life”, by Barb Rogers, is published by Conari Press.