12 steps questions
By change4good
8/8/2012 5:54:29 PM
I have been researching the 12 steps and there are a few questions that I have. First, is it possible to start on the road to recovery and never relapse? Second, it sounds like sponsors are a very powerful tool. Do all the church's 12 step meetings have sponsors? Do I have to request one or is one offered? Third, is my wife's participation in the "spouse of an addict" meetings crucial to both hers and my recovery? Forth, about how much time outside of the meetings does an addict spend on materials or exercises associated with the 12 steps? Fifth, is there anyone out there with a good experience story for both themselves and their spouse related with recovery? And finally, I have gone over a year without acting out on my own before. Not typically but it has happened. One such instance is from my engagement through about a year of marriage. Has anyone had similar tine lines of restraint? It seems that most other people can only go as far as a few months.

I am starting to look at this from a more practical side and I have been researching my addiction as well as the steps it takes to recover. I hope that I do not try to force my spouse to recover too quickly. But I want it to go smoothly and as quickly as possible. I have been sober for six weeks and I want it to continue through my lifetime. I have had periods of abstaining for over a year before, so I feel that it might be possible to get through it without relapsing if it is with the 12 steps. But maybe it isn't possible. I have also noticed a correlation between the times I abstain and the times I act out. It seems that the longer I go without acting out (on my own), the longer it will take me to come out of a relapse. So, if I abstain for weeks or a few months, then I will relapse for a few weeks but if I abstain for many months or a year, then I will act out for many months. Boy, I have a long journey ahead of me!


"1. Yes it's possible not to relapse but it's most likely that you'll have a few slips. I know that sounds horrible... but I am actually grateful for the slips I had. It helped me more definitely target where the holes were in my recovery plan. And my last slip, I face planted pretty hard, taught me how to get up again. That is a life lesson I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

2. Most meetings have sponsors available... basically it's just someone who has good recovery under their belt, has worked the 12 steps, and live the principles of the 12 steps themselves. You'll find someone like that at most meetings.

3. Just as the 12 steps is crucial to your recovery, it is to hers as well. For me, attending spouse meetings helped me turn my husbands addiction over to the Lord. It freed me of the constant worry of whether or not he was acting out. It helped me forgive him. It also helped me not isolate. For myself and my own addiction, I am free to tell whoever I want that I am an addict. I'm not so free with my husbands addiction. I don't feel I can just go to my friends and share this problem with them. So it's awesome to have a place that is safe that I CAN talk about it without worrying about breaking my husbands confidence.

4. I spend A LOT of time focusing on recovery outside of meetings. I read a lot of recovery material, I surf recovery sites, I run my own recovery blog ( and I sponsor a lot of people which keeps me busy. It's important to find "meetings outside the meetings" because the addiction doesn't stop when you aren't in a meeting.

5. I have a good recovery story. And so does my husband. We are not perfect but we are continually working and that makes a good story. I have reached a year sobriety before, both times when I took my endowments out and when I got married in the Temple... but I always feel back into it.

You can't force your spouse to recover at all:-) Don't think like that. I know I started my recovery before my husband came forward with his. He was not at all open at first. I remember coming home from my firstmeeting and as I stood in the kitchen with tears streaming down my face bearing testimony of what i had found, he didn't even look at me. He stared at his computer and responded with courtesy grunts. At that moment I knew I couldn't share with him or rely on him or involve him. So I simply worked my own program. Eventually he began to see the change in me and in turn decided he wanted that for himself and that's when he came forward. So don't focus on your wife... focus on yourself and pray for your wife.

ALso keep in mind that sobriety is not recovery. Recovery encompasses sobriety but recovery is much more. Sobriety is simply abstaining. That is white knuckling. But even with sobriety your brain is constantly trained on the addiction, thinking about where to get the next fix, obsessing over things. Recovery is giving it all to God. Recovery is peace. Recovery is clean and pure. Recovery is freedom."
posted at 19:46:19 on August 8, 2012 by siouxsie

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"Develop discipline of self so that, more and more, you do not have to decide and redecide what you will do when you are confronted with the same temptation time and time again. You need only to decide some things once. How great a blessing it is to be free of agonizing over and over again regarding a temptation. "

— Spencer W. Kimball