The word action has become symbolic in the context of 12-step recovery, largely because there is a chapter in the book Alcoholics Anonymous entitled ‘Into Action’ which a significant number of people use as a focus for a degree of pressure or bullying in terms of telling people in early recovery what they need to do to get and stay sober.
The focus of action or of doing things has become an unequal part of the understanding of what a person needs to do in order to get sober and stay sober.
This is not so much necessary in the case whilst individual it in a rehab, where the focus of the addiction treatment programs that rehabs offer is likely to be more of a therapeutic nature than of a work based understanding.
There’s an important reason to question or challenge the concept of this very heavy emphasis on a need to take action.
This is because there’s a mindset that simply by doing things you can change or initiate the process of someone’s recovery from alcoholism or other addictions.
Whilst taking action, whatever that might mean, has a place in the context of recovery, it is only half the equation and has to be used in conjunction with a an equally important context, that of learning how to be.
The concept of learning how to be may seem an alien concept to many people, and one that does take a fair degree of time to really understand. Thankfully the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous tends to put both of these concepts into some degree of order.
Both of these concepts can in effect be thought of as an individuals inner world and their outer world, although both of these terms are general enough to mean different things to different people.
The focus of an individual’s recovery will initially largely focus on the individuals inner world, with an understanding that they need to be able to live at peace with themselves at some level in order to stay sober.
Once the individual has achieved some measure of stability they are more likely to be able and to want to help other people to get sober and stay sober.
There is no clear line between the two of these concepts but they will normally be a natural flow between the two.
It is important to understand that what an individual does in terms of action with their outer world is an expression of what is going on in their inner world, both for better and for worse.
This is true of emotional coping mechanisms, as well as an expression of the individual’s desire to love or help other people .
This understanding of the process of recovery should be a key element of the clinical programs and facilities that a rehab offers, and there should be a heavy emphasis on compassion for both the alcoholic themselves and for the people in their lives.