The 12 Fucked Steps

A lot of people find 12 Steps programs hard to relate to- especially for non-religious and younger generations. I did not come up with this nor can I take credit for it but I do wholeheartedly endorse it. I present to you- the 12 Fucked Steps.

Step 1: I’m fucked
Step 2: There might be a way out of this fucking mess
Step 3: Decide to level the fuck up
Step 4: Take a good hard look at how fucked up I am
Step 5: Tell someone else about all the fucked up stuff I’ve been through
Step 6: Prepare to stop being such a fuck up
Step 7: Try to stop acting so fucked up
Step 8: Make a list of everyone I fucked over
Step 9: Swallow my fucking pride and tell them I really fucked up, except when doing so would fuck them harder.
Step 10: Keep an eye on my fucked up thinking and behavior
Step 11: Chill the fuck out sometimes
Step 12: Help the next poor fucker that walks through the door

falling-down-stairs

Step 1: I’m fucked

Like many alcoholics & addicts I had to fully come to the conclusion that I was absolutely fucking lying to myself if I thought I could control myself under alcohol. I can’t control myself at a chinese buffet- why did I think I could control myself with something I was addicted to. Mmmmmm egg rolls.
It wasn’t until I finally figured out that if I do not give up alcohol- I’m fucked.

 Step 2: There might be a way out of this fucking mess

After deciding I could not control myself under alcohol there was a period of hopelessness. Most people usually quit drinking, narcotics, cigarettes etc. after a traumatic and embarrassing event in their life. It is their “rock bottom”. Rock bottom is one hellishly depressing place. But with the proper plan, determination and support there might just be a way out of this fucking mess.

Step 3: Decide to level the fuck up

So you’re an alcoholic- maybe you’re an addict. Who the fuck cares? When you hit rock bottom you either decide to die or to fix yourself up. Some people choose to go back to their abusive drug of choice- it seems easier at the time. Then there are others that decide to change their life around and turn a shitty situation into a success story. So what are you gonna do punk, continue what you are doing or level the fuck up?

Step 4: Take a good hard look at how fucked up I am

Once you’ve gotten sober you’re going to come to the realization that nothing really changes except for your lack of alcohol- and that sweet, sweet money saved. However, if you have underlying problems that were only masked by your alcoholism that means they are still there. Procrastination, dishonesty and poor stress coping skills were some of my underlying issues and my sobriety suffered deeply until I addressed the aspects in my life that fueled my alcoholism.
Once the alcohol is taken away what is still left about you that you dislike?

Step 5: Tell someone else about all the fucked up stuff I’ve been through

Guilt and shame can be dangerous. A lot of times people go back to drinking because the guilt is overwhelming. Taking out your internal garbage can be extremely helpful. Talking about it with someone who has been through something similar (i.e. a friend or sponsor) or someone who is trained in the subject (i.e. a therapist) can be a huge relief and a good way to map out where you need to go. Even keeping a sobriety journal can be great for releasing all of the negative feelings & issues you have when first dealing with your addiction. Go ahead- get it out- don’t keep that stuff bottled up.

Step 6: Prepare to stop being such a fuck up

Now that you’re slowly putting these issues behind you what are you going to do to change your future behavior from your past behavior? How is future you going to not be such a fuck-up? Maybe you relapsed- what are you going to do different this time to ensure your sobriety? Deciding for yourself what behaviors you are going to change can be one of the single most important aspects of overcoming your addiction.

Step 7: Try to stop acting so fucked up

This is just like step 6 but you have to put it into ACTION! So now that you have a plan on how to change you actually have to do it. Try to change yourself and your past behaviors. Do it one baby step at a time. We all fucked up a lot in the beginning but it is because we kept going slowly that we have any success at this thing. The key word is trying- just keep trying.

Step 8: Make a list of everyone I fucked over

If you’re just a regular Joe you probably have a decent list of people you’ve upset or fucked over in your life. If you’re an addict you probably have a list that is longer than my……..well, it’s long. These are people you need to make right by- not just because it is the right thing to do but also because this is a lot of guilt and shame that you will carry around with you.
I actually did this step & the 4th step together on my fourth day of sobriety because the guilt was overwhelming. I made a page in my sobriety journal that titled “Things I hate about alcohol” in which I put much detail about people I had fucked over and embarrassing shit I had done. It was a long list. One page became pages. It ended up being a map of how I was going to change my life and how to reconcile relationships lost. I am still using that map today.
Make the list- it will end up being much longer than you ever thought it would be. It will also be a bigger relief than you ever thought it could be and it will be a pretty damn good map to hit the next step head on.

Step 9: Swallow my fucking pride and tell them I really fucked up,

except when doing so would fuck them harder.

Step 9: the motherfucker. This one’s tough. Really tough. This is where you finally have to suck it up and ask for forgiveness. You’re going to have to prioritize and chip away at it. Your list will be lengthy.

This 9th step is just as much for you as it is for the people you are reconciling with. The point is to help relieve the overburdening guilt while also mending those relationships. However, forgiveness is the only thing you can ask for. You might not get the forgiveness when you want it- but showing you are changing and have changed is a huge proponent of moving forgiveness forward. Sometimes showing you have changed is the best way to ask for forgiveness.

This step comes with a disclaimer: except when doing so would fuck them harder. While it feels great to finally get things off your chest- sometimes leaving stones unturned is the better option. Don’t worsen a relationship by bringing up issues that could actually make someone’s life worse.

Step 10: Keep an eye on my fucked up thinking and behavior

Complacency can be a sobriety killer. You have to keep an eye on the fucked up stuff you were doing. Your brain can be your biggest enemy- it really is something you have to look out for. Sometimes your brain will tell you “See you made it a month without drinking; we don’t have an alcohol problem”. It is that kind of thinking- and that kind of mental trickery that gets you back to where you began.

Step 11: Chill the fuck out sometimes

You’re going to get stressed early on. It’s going to happen. You’re probably like me and had poor stress coping skills. Don’t let this be your downfall. If things ever get too stressful too fast just remember to chill the fuck out- and that alcohol solves nothing. Drinking today will be borrowing tomorrow’s happiness and your problems will still be there.

Step 12: Help the next poor fucker that walks through the door

Hardly any sober person made it on their own. I would go as far as to say probably no sober person made it on their own- short of some poor bastard that got stranded on an island. Just as you needed guidance so will the next person- be there to assist them. There is a huge land of unknown when you are fighting your addiction and it’s comforting and greatly helpful to have someone help guide you through it. The person that guided you once needed a guide themselves. Do what you can to help those who need guidance- listen to them, give advice, volunteer at your local addiction shelter, start a stupid sobriety blog- just contribute to the community that helped make you better.

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33 Responses to The 12 Fucked Steps

  1. Hiroki says:

    I found this entertaining and I also saw how the basic model of the 12 steps can be useful to anyone trying to become a better person. But I happen to be so repulsed by the 12 steps and meetings that I can’t even bring myself to follow these fucking steps above. I read a book by a Harvard Doctor called

    • Hiroki says:

      Fuck my comment post incomplete, anyways the book was called Breaking Addiction: 7 Steps to Ending Any Addiction by Dr. Lance Dodes. Those steps really appealed to me because they are basically the opposite of admitting you are powerless and turning your will over to a higher power. I don’t need the 12 steps to improve my character, there’s so many richer tools and resources available to help with that.

  2. BigDumbHick says:

    Fuckin’ A. I have learned that there are many paths to Recovery. Some turn to Jesus, Some see a Shrink. Some use some kind of Super Brain power, Some just grow the fuck up.

    For almost 30 years (since Oct 13, 1984) I have been utilizing the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous.

    Is that the best way? Is that the only way? I don’t know. I do however know that it is the way that has worked for me. Yes, there are many different tools out there. I tried Jesus. I tried Psychiatry. I tried Sex. I tried running away. None of that other stuff worked for me. Hell, I tried 3 or 4 different 12 Step Fellowships that all did their best to help me, but it wasn’t until I made it to NA that I finally felt like I had found a place that I belonged.

    30 years (or almost 30 years) in this program has taught me that I don’t know shit about what will work for you, I only know what worked for me and I’m more than happy to share that experience, strength, and hope with you. I’m more than willing to hold your hand as you try this way of life for yourself, but I’m not going to try and make you “do” anything, or to “believe” a certain way. That’s not my job. My job is support and encouragement. The 12 Steps don’t need me to be their White Knight, I know that they worked in my life and I believe that they can be of benefit to others as well.

    Want to try a different path? Feel free. I wish you the best and I hope you find as much success and peace as I have found through NA. If you ever need me, I’m not hard to find. I’m usually at the Monday Night 5 & Dime meeting.

    • Courtnado says:

      Great post! I am also in the fellowship of NA for several years and that was after trying the mother fellowship, self-help, hypnosis, therapy, medication, religion, men, motherhood. Nothing worked for me but NA but I appreciate your perspective because I always feel compelled to “defend” NA when people start spewing about how AA/NA brainwashes addicts, is a cult etc etc.
      I just thank HP that he kept me in my chair long enough to erode some of my old thinking and crack a tiny space open in my mind.

    • Diane R says:

      Thank you. Your message opens my heart, it’s inclusive rather than exclusive. Like you I’m only 45 days from 30 years and I’m available to be of service. What that means changes with everyone I meet who asks for help.

    • Katie says:

      A pity there is less of people like you.Too many people have tried to tell me what to do.Can I write you ?

    • Katie says:

      Haoriki have you an email address?

  3. BRRRDRRRS says:

    Great post. I stumbled upon this gem on the atheist12steppers reddit. I, too, am an NA member, though I have only been clean a little under 6 months (which is 5 months more than I ever managed, alone, in the past 25 years!) So, the program is working for me. Currently, I’m writing step 2, using the “flat book,” (Step Working Guide.) A nagging fear about the program is that eventually, because the steps are so “supernatural being helping me stay clean,” I’ll run into a place where substituting “the group, the fellowship, etc” for a God won’t work. But, for today, it’s working. I mean, obviously, I know that no successfully recovering addict REALLY stays clean because a caring God is intervening in their lives (because none such creature exists,) but THEY think one is doing that. I don’t have that option, short of a closed-head injury. :) I’ve not met, in real life, an atheist NA member with years and years clean, but I know they exist. THAT is the sponsor I hope to find, one day.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble. Great post.

    • madcyansky says:

      BRDS, I’m with you there. I was working in my 4th year of the program when I became a convinced atheist. Another hardcore friend of mine, an atheist and an addict went the other way, decided that he couldn’t prove God didn’t exist, so that he may as well accept the God-centred 12 steps. Regardless of our beliefs, you’re right, it is me, controlling my hands when I thinkk I want to pick up. I was challenged recently, and I heard myself say “God give me strength”, and i thought, I have, I am the strength, the finite power, I have control over me. I like the 12 Fucked Steps a lot, i appreciate the focus on me and my actions – i’ve got a dearly departed buddy who would have loved them. Good luck with your path.

    • TheBastard says:

      I do not really do the 12 step programs but when I did I always thought of “a better me” as my higher power. The guy I wanted to become was the person I looked up to- that way I always had the goal in mind.

    • United We Divide says:

      It helped when I came to believe that atheism is just theism in denial, and vice versa. Agnosticism and gnosticism are no different. We can prefer to not anthropomorphize God, even as existence beyond definition and explanation, our Source Energy, anthropomorphizes into us right now.

      I hope we all strive to stay as healthy and helpful as possible because that serves the greatest good of all. Today I prefer to keep it supernaturally serene, yet I started out keeping it stupid simple.

  4. Leon Schull says:

    Used the CA program mainly to get clean. …Been Clean and sober for over 25 years ….came to believe that the 12 steps are the way to do it right. …I tried other ways and didn’t work for ME. …So, What ever works, Work it. ..Don’t bash the 12 Steps, It’s been working for over 75 years. ..Been working the longest… .

    • Jon S says:

      I got sober in AA using the 12 steps (original form, not as above) in August 2000. They saved my life, no question.

      However, truth be told, while the peer support of AA/NA/etc is great in the short term, the 12 steps are not a healthy way to live in the long run. In fact they can actually be quite damaging, and AA’s high sober suicide rate is just one testament to that unpleasant reality.

      Instead, and you won’t hear this shared in the meetings, CBT actually offers a much more rational and even-tempered solution to the ongoing problem of sober living.

      I would never have imagined myself writing that even so much as twelve months ago, but earlier in 2014 I quit AA after 14 years sobriety.

      I’ve blogged about my experience “Leaving AA, Staying Sober,” and included resources for those in a similar position, at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com

  5. Jeremy says:

    This works for me… Fuck it.

  6. Jon S says:

    Awesome post. They should read that in meetings instead of Chapter 5. That would give hope to the newcomer. I quit AA after 14 years and have compiled resources aimed at helping others “Leaving AA, Staying Sober” at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com

  7. nina says:

    Fuck, sober nearly 8 years, this info very useful for many many people I know but they love drinking too much!

  8. Jewel says:

    Not funny…and I love to laugh. I am CLEAN and SOBER 30 years…and have been to many, many funerals of people I loved. The woman who founded MODERATION MANAGEMENT in 90′s…for those alcoholics who did not want to stop drinking entirely…killed two people while she was driving drunk….and she committed suicide this past year. The 12 step fellowships of AA , NA etc will be around long after many of the of the people whose comments are posted. Years ago, I had a patient in DETOX who said he was going to start his own recovery program when he got out of rehab…called Secular Sobriety. He went to rehab Mon.,signed out AMA on Thurs,came home took pills and drank and was dead on Friday. And the beat goes on!

  9. SoberOkie says:

    A note to commenters who like to post slams on organizations and methods that failed: Keep in mind how many AA’s, CA’s, and NA’s, just to name a few, who drank and used and died, and avoid preaching about the other failed methods.
    We here have no room to point fingers at failed programs, when so many Twelve-Steppers have fallen short of lifelong sobriety, despite the steps and traditions.
    I am a sober recovered atheist alcoholic, no gods, no prayers. Some of the steps are still important to me today, and I use them when I need them.
    I have no desire to drink because the motivation to drink has disappeared.
    I do not live in fear that it might return–since that is a sure-fire trap to begin failure.
    I live life one moment at a time, in the moment, in the present.
    For any and all 12-steppers who are having problems with the one day at a time message: Try it just one moment at a time and let go of things you cannot possibly control. And Keep Going to Meetings. You will learn what works for you.

  10. Lowtread says:

    This is an entertaining and amusingly direct take on the meat of the 12 steps; I enjoyed reading it. Thank you. It’s important that the message is delivered in language that people understand.

    Many balk at the God idea and refuse to go any further. AA’s traditional steps, however, have served me well for over 28 years and helped me to become a happier and more contented person. I do take exception to Jon’s claim of a high suicide rate in AA. In the years that I’ve been actively associated with AA, I’ve known many people who have died of drug or alcohol-related problems — heart attacks, liver failure, choking/aspiration, hemorrhage, fatal traffic accidents — but I’ve only known one suicide. Although he attended one of my AA meetings for several months I noticed that he refused to participate, even when asked. After speaking with friends who knew him better than I did, it was my understanding that he was unwilling to apply the steps.

    AA doesn’t have a monopoly on sobriety. Different strokes.The higher power idea worked for me. I haven’t tried to define or describe what that power may me, but it is my experience that when I stop trying to force my will on a situation and work instead with what is available, things go surprisingly well and I usually end up with something better than I had planned. Relying on a “higher power” keeps me from getting in the way.

  11. Honey says:

    nice. And just where is God here? Fucked up I guess.

  12. Tim says:

    Great post. Recommended it to several friends and clients. Really puts things in a perspective anyone can understand

    • Ally says:

      When you think about it, that’s got to be the right anwers.

    • Heer Frank,Ge kunt zien dat ge niet stopt! Ik vind uw blog erg maf (ik ontken met grote stelligheid dat ik dat hier heb gezegd!) en dat kan nooit helemaal fout zijn. Ik hou bovendien van uw grappig en ironisch taalgebruik.Zoals U ondertussen misschien al hebt gemerkt, zit mijn blog ook een beetje op zijn gat.Hachelijk?Hachelijk!De Drs.

    • At last, someone comes up with the “right” answer!

    • Indeed, he is the great anomaly. In her book, Gifted Children: The Myth and the Reality, child psychologist Ellen Winner uses Hamlet’s speech, “I have of late––wherefore I know not––lost all my mirth . . .” to describe depression, yet among the geniuses whose lives and personalities she uses to emphasize her points, Mozart, Picasso, etc., there’s no mention of Shakespeare.

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    • Thanks for taking the time to post. It’s lifted the level of debate

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  13. Robin says:

    Curious, who actually did (re)write these? LOVE it!

  14. Denise says:

    Hilarious, yet right on the mark. I just got accepted into intensive outpatient treatment…I start next week…and you can bet I will be bringing a copy of these twelve steps to share with my group!

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