“I didn’t have my first drink until I was 29,” the dentist said. “I had just received my acceptance letter from dental school and I thought I could finally relax and have an occasional drink.”
“Same age as me,” the trauma surgeon and helicopter pilot stated.” The first time I drank was right before a mission. Unfortunately, I drank a pint of vodka, and I don’t remember the mission I flew until the moment I landed. I lost several soldiers on that mission, and I still feel guilty about it 30 years later.”
“I remember from age six looking forward to communion wine at my church because of the good feeling it gave me,” the 30 year old woman remarked as I obtained her history upon her admission to the alcohol treatment unit. “I drank purposely to get drunk from age 10,” the 35 year old nurse told me after entering treatment so she would not lose her nursing license.
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Do you sometimes feel your habits and choices control you, rather than the other way around? Is there something about yourself you’ve tried to change, but you just can’t seem to experience a breakthrough? Does fear hold you back from getting the help you need?
The truth is we all suffer from circumstances, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors that can cause disruption in our lives. Often we feel like we just have to live with it, but there is hope for change. Twelve-step programs can be of assistance to you or loved ones.
The 12-steps are spiritual—not religious—tools that can be applied to any issue in life. The steps have been proven to help countless people work through unhealthy life issues that separate them from God and other people, thus freeing them up to healthy relationships in the environment in which they work and live.
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The 12 steps aren’t just for Alcoholics Anonymous. They can change your life in ways you can never imagine. Just listed to how the steps changed the lives of these five people.
Overcoming Perfectionism and Workaholism
Work and worry were the watchwords in my early environment.
Family life centered around church, where I gathered many positive messages. But for some reason, my brain fastened on the negative. I heard subtle mandates in scripture, sermon, and song that drove me to obsessive/compulsive behavior: “We’ll work ‘til Jesus comes.” “Work for the night is coming.” “Be vigilant, lest you be caught unawares.” “Are you ready for Jesus to come?”
Studiously obeying these “commandments,” I became a world-class workaholic/ perfectionist, driving myself mercilessly for the next 40 years. The social and emotional consequences of my excessive behavior were enormous. When I finally accepted the fact that I was a workaholic and that this addiction was killing me, I went into a treatment center for addictive disorders. There, most of my peers were alcoholics. I could see that I was no different from them. Subsequently, I have found in twelve-step groups the guidance and support I needed to change long-standing, deep-seated, self-abusive habits into balanced, moderate, healthy living.
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A woman reaches for a cigarette while her 2-week-old-daughter sleeps in the bassinet beside her. A man leaves his family behind and drives into the city looking for his next drug fix. A pastor powers up his computer and clicks on a link that will carry him to a popular porn site. A married businesswoman glances at a handsome coworker and allows herself to wonder what it would be like . . .
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