The 12 Steps through Buddhism

The 12 Steps through Buddhism

Looking at Things in a New Way
Looking at Things in a New Way

You may know the 12 steps through AA or NA. These steps can be applied to any organization or group. Most religions have taken the 12 steps and given them a spin, incorporating their ideas. This makes for a creative and personalized way to relate and integrate into your life. Below are the 12 steps adapted to fit Buddhism. Perhaps you may find some connection to this version of the well-known steps.

  1. Practice acceptance: You can’t control certain things in your life. You lose a lot of energy trying to change things that are out of your control. Your futile attempt to change things you can’t control causes you stress. This can have negative consequences in your recovery. So work on accepting things, starting with you.
  2. Develop confidence: Life can be unstable and doesn’t provide a guarantee of anything. When you have faith and confidence, you are able to deal with whatever is thrown your way.
  3. Create a place of refuge: It starts as a physical place where you can feel safe or where you can decompress. Eventually, you can learn to find that peace anywhere.
  4. Make time for self-examination: It’s easy for us to be overly critical of ourselves, but that’s not healthy. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Instead, focus on your strengths and on things you can improve.
  5. Set up a self-honesty team: Sometimes we have a skewed view of reality. Having a support system that will tell you the truth and give you quality advice is valuable.
  6. Be willing to move past limitations: We all have strengths and weaknesses. Learning to optimize your strengths and not dwelling on your shortcomings helps you attain your goals.
  7. Cultivate a sense of humility: Admitting that you need help and be willing to receive advice helps you stay humble. This can be difficult because you may want to believe that you can do it all. Allow yourself to accept your imperfections.
  8. Have a forgiveness practice: Resentment can take a physical toll as well as plague our minds with negativity. Forgiving yourself and others will lift that weight off you.
  9. Give back where it’s the hardest: In active addiction, you hurt many people, especially those who are closest to you. Giving back to others can help right the wrongs of your past.
  10. Admit when you’re wrong: You’re not always right; if you were, then you wouldn’t get yourself in trouble or hurt others. Admitting when you’re wrong sometimes is humbling and prevents the “black and white” thinking of addiction.
  11. Keep your spiritual life fresh: Whether you meditate, pray or do yoga, finding your spirituality help you grow in your recovery.
  12. Practice unconditional love every day: Loving and feeling compassion for others helps you stay grounded. You show your appreciation of others and of life when you practice unconditional love.

The 12 steps are a valuable tool in addiction recovery. Adapting them to different schools of thought helps to reach many people in recovery. Applying these steps to your life helps you live a fuller life in recovery.

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