by Kyle Beard on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
A couple weeks ago, I posted a blog about the powerful 12 Step slogan, “It works if you work it, so work it cause you’re worth it.” The first half of the slogan – “It works if you work it” – emphasizes the power of truly working hard for recovery, where the results can be life completely changing. The second half of the 12 Step phrase – “So work it cause you’re worth it” – ironically functions as the foundational roots behind the slogan.
Many of us don’t truly believe that we are worthy, worthwhile, or deserving of happiness. When good things come along such as compliments, affirmations, praises, etc., we quickly dismiss them, feeling unworthy of such high regard. A powerful word used to describe this feeling is shame. Shame refers to a belief that you are wrong, broken, and unable to do anything right; therefore, you are undeserving of anything good.
For one who functions from a place of shame, true recovery or happiness is seen as unattainable. These types of thoughts often lead to the question: “So why put forth the effort if it’s not attainable?” Here’s an example. If you don’t feel you are deserving of raise at work, you won’t pursue or even contemplate the possibility of receiving a raise. You won’t create a overview that emphasizes your contributions to the company. The idea of doing some extra work to be noticed won’t cross your mind. Stepping into your boss’s office to discuss advancement or a raise would be unthinkable because deep down, you don’t think you deserve a raise or promotion.
Let’s shift back to the life of an addict. If an addict believes they will never deserve a healthy life without addiction, they won’t attempt to take the steps to create a healthy life. I find that this is often how addicts view themselves. Addicts believe that they are undeserving of a happy, joyful life because of their behaviors during their addiction. In their eyes, they are undeserving, unlovable, worthless, and unworthy of a restored life; therefore, they never think to pursue anything different. Twelve Steps attacks this false belief directly by stating that everyone is worthy of a second, third, forth, or thirty-eighth chance, simply because they are human.
Twelve Steps has worked for millions of people in the past who have sought for guidance. Some people do attempt 12 Step programs, only to later continue in their addiction. The phrase “you’re worth it” directly addresses a core belief of recovery. When you begin to have a glimmer of thought that you are worthy of a better life and you are willing to put forth the effort, 12 Step works. The Steps themselves, with the help of community and a sponsor, help you to change you beliefs around addiction and how you view yourself. We have all made mistakes, but they don’t have to define us. The steps we take after making mistakes show our true character.