12 Steps For Everyone Else

Have you ever done something you really didn’t want to, and then thought to yourself:

Why did I do that?!”

Have you ever known in advance you were going to do something you knew would have painful consequences; and yet felt powerless to stop yourself?  You did it anyway?

  • Have you ever sat down to have one brownie and ended up eating a whole pan? Do you frequently eat a quantity of food that you feel embarrassed about afterwards, but while you are eating, you just can’t stop?
  • Are you a healthy weight, or maybe too thin, but live in complete terrorof being fat? 
  • Have you ever felt such an all-consuming need for sex, that you are willing to throw away your marriage, pride, values and/ or dignity just to “scratch that itch”? 
  • Have you ever hated yourself for the words that come out of your mouth and yet, you can’t seem to stop saying hurtful, destructive things?
  • Have you damaged and destroyed relationships – and maybe even lost jobs – as a result of your inability to manage your anger?
  • Have you ever been over your head in debt, but just can’t seem to stop spending?
  • Have you ever been so driven to achieve something that you will do whatever it takes – including lying, cheating or stealing – just to achieve it?
  • Have you ever moved into a larger living space, because you needed more room for your “stuff”? Do you dislike inviting people into your home because of how cramped with stuff your living space is?
  • Have you ever been angry or impatient with someone because they were keeping you from doing something that you feel guilty about doing, but just can’t stop?
  • Do you have a “secret life” you keep hidden from your family and friends, because you know they would not approve of what you do in that life?
  • Do you feel like you are able to be yourself around others, or do you feel people expect you to be “on” all the time, and keep up a certain image or appearance?
  • Do you find yourself needing to be constantly surrounded by people, noise and activity, just to avoid being alone with yourself or to avoid silence?  Do you always have to a podcast, audiobook, music or the TV running 24/7 to keep the thoughts in your head from taking over?
  • Do you feel like your spouse or children don’t love you because they just will not do what you want them to?
  • Have you ever found yourself hating or despising someone you care about because of how you feel their actions or behaviors were making you look?
  • Do you give love and approval to those who behave in ways that you approve of, and withhold it from those who do not behave in ways you approve of? 
  • Have you ever stayed far too long in an unhealthy relationship or miserable job, because you were just too afraid of what might happen if you made a change?
  • Do you “bounce” from relationship to relationship because you feel “trapped” the minute things start to get serious?
  • When you are away from home are you able to relax and enjoy what you’re doing, or do you feel antsy and “exposed” and anxious to return home?
  • Have you ever felt paralyzed with panic and fear – for no reason that you could actually identify?
  • Do you struggle on an ongoing basis with anxiety or depression?
  • Are you able to “turn off” the thoughts in your head, or does your brain just keep chewing things over and over and over? Does your brain feel like a hamster on a wheel that just will not stop?
  • Do you frequently fantasize about hurting someone?
  • Do you suffer from chronic IBS, acid reflux, heartburn, high blood pressure or other long-term health issues that medication just doesn’t seem to fix? Do you have serious health issues related to your diet but just can’t seem to stop eating?
  • Do you feel genuinely able to show affection to those that you love the most, or do you feel like you “push away” the people you love and care about the most?
  • Do you consistently feel unhappy, but can’t come up with a really good reason for feeling that way?
  • Do you feel like you have the ability to set, accomplish and achieve goals, or do you feel like you are just sort of aimlessly drifting through your life?

If you identify or relate to any of these situations, then this book is for you.

Many people have heard of the 12 steps, but think the 12 Steps are something for “addicts,” which may not be you. There are an entire host of issues, however, ranging from addiction to mental illness to PTSD to health issues to control issues, that the 12 Steps can help address. The one thing all these issues have in common is that the people who experience them feel powerless to change or to control them. 

Before the pandemic, a lot of people may have thought they had their lives largely under control. Two years of fear, stress, anger and anxiety, however, have taken a toll on us all. People that were “managing” before the pandemic may find their lives now completely out of control. Some people may actually be afraid to be around others because they know just how strong their rage really is. Others may consider it a huge victory if they just get out of bed in the morning, while others may experience extreme panic every time they try and leave their home. The question is:

Do you feel like you have control over your emotions, habits 

and behaviors, or do you feel like they control you?

If there is any area of your life that you feel completely helpless and out-of-control in, this book can help. This book will help you not only understand why you do those things you do that you hate so much, but also how to overcome them and regain control of your own life.

Some people reading this book may already be in a support group, working the 12 steps, or have tried them in the past, and maybe they don’t seem to work for you. I’m going to ask you to keep reading, anyway. Maybe especially if you have tried them in the past and they didn’t seem to work. 

Before writing this book, I spent some time in various 12 Step groups, and what I found is that all too often, the absolutely most important, foundational tenets of the 12 Steps – the concepts that actually allow them to workand create changein people’s lives, often get skipped or glossed over as not being important.  And that’s why they don’t seem to work for some people. They dowork – but only if you actually engage in the deepest work required by them.  

You may read this book and feel that you can’tengage in the deepest and most important concept that the 12 Steps address. And if you really can’t – then there is no shame in that. But please continue reading anyway. Because maybe right now you’re not ready for something that one day you will be. And when that time comes, you will at least have the foundational knowledge of what to do to address the issues that one day may come close to destroying you. 

So here we go….

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