While talking with two separate clients the other day both mentioned their 12-step programs in a fascinating way. Both had long ago completed all 12 steps and have years of being clean and sober. Additionally both talked about the steps after the steps in a way that was both compelling and fresh. In all of my years of being a counselor I had never heard this issue discussed and here it happened twice in one day.
So what does this mean “the steps after the steps”? Surely it does not mean that the original 12-steps are disregarded! It does have a component of moving beyond the “structure” that a 12-step program provides and finding new approaches and experiences that continue one on the path of a healthy, happy life.
For both clients there was a sense of security in their recovery without discounting of the serious nature of the illness. At the same time each had a sense of something “bigger” within themselves that each wanted to consider and attempt to bring to fruition.
Maybe it is an exploration of their own recovery beyond the structure that anyone or any organization places on them. The pathway to recovery may start with the 12-steps yet does not end once the steps have all been completed. For those folks in a solid recovery program the “steps after the steps” may open up new and exciting opportunities and possibilities. Those are infinite.
“Recovery is a journey …not a destination” – Alcoholics Anonymous