The 7 Steps That Helped One Man Recover
Over the years, I have reflected on my sobriety and recovery. I would like to share with you the 7 steps I had to go through throughout my journey. The 7 steps are: 1) awareness, 2) surrender, 3) readiness, 4) receptivity, 5) acceptance, 6) perspective, and 7) action. When taking the first letter of each of the words it forms the following acronym, A.S.R.R.A.P.A. After you complete reading the article, hopefully you will gain some insights that can help you through your recovery, and then use the acronym as a tool to remember the 7 steps.
STEP 1: AWARENESS
The first step is awareness. I had to become aware of the fact that I had a substance abuse issue, and that I was going to die because of it. This was quite challenging for me because I believed that I did not have a problem, and that the problem was everyone else. It was not until I became aware of the toxic relationship that I had with alcohol and drugs that I was able to finally admit that I had to do something to prevent the continuous downward spiral in my life.
STEP 2: SURRENDER
The second step is surrender. Nobody wants to surrender, and I mean nobody. I had to get out of my head. I had to have my ego crushed, and it was. I reached a point of suffering where the only two options were to live or die. In my case, it was on December 13, 2003, when I crushed to my knees at 11:30 pm in a suburb of Western Chicago, Wheaton, Illinois. It was on that day and time, in my most vulnerable state, that I said out loud, God, today I am either going to live or die. I surrender to you. It was at that point in my life when I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders, and my recovery journey began.
STEP 3: READINESS
Once I surrendered, I had to go to the third step and ask, am I ready (the state of being fully prepared to do something) to stop drinking? Was I able to embrace the reality that I could never drink again? Until I was ready to stop drinking, nobody could have helped me, and trust me, many good people tried. Once one is ready, then it’s time to move step 4, receptivity.
STEP 4: RECEPTIVITY
That leads us to the fourth step, receptivity. My willingness to consider or accept new suggestions and ideas. If I was not receptive to what my family, friends, medical and non-medical professionals (phycologist, counselors, etc.) said to me, do you think that I would listen to them? To save you some time here, the answer is and was a resounding NO! Once I thoroughly worked through the first three steps and was in a state of readiness, I moved to the fifth step, acceptance.
STEP 5: ACCEPTANCE
I had to accept life on life’s terms. I had to accept people, places, and things that came my way, and this is not an easy step for anyone. This step is about embracing whatever comes your way and living in the present moment.
STEP 6: PERSPECTIVE
Next is the sixth step, perspective. By working the first five steps, over time, my perspective on the exact same things that I was focused on when I was drinking, changed when I stopped drinking, for the better I might add. It’s never the situation, it’s your perspective around it.
STEP 7: ACTION
This step is taking everything that you have learned in the first 6 steps and acting on it. It is also about continuous improvement or progressive wellness in that you will never get every outcome that you desire, based on your action(s), so modify things as you see fit so that you become a person of great character that does what they can to live the best life that they can, given the resources that they have at their disposal.
The one thing that I want those reading this article to keep in mind is that you can be on step 6, and about to go to the 7th step, action, however, before you do that, you need to be emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually in the right space. If you are not, you will need to revisit the first 5 steps and the 6th step, before acting accordingly. Recovery is a process, and it’s a process that everyone needs to work to the best of their abilities, to recover, thrive, and flourish in your community.
Vincenzo Aliberti, Ph.D.
Red Deer Dream Centre
4614 – 50th Avenue
Red Deer, AB T4N 3Z8
P: (403) 986-0050