The Twelve Secular Steps: An Addiction Recovery Guide was written in order to provide a non-religious framework to treat addiction. The religious context provided by the 12 steps in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program can be off-putting to those that aren’t as religiously inclined including agnostics and atheists.
In the spirit of AA, the author has elected to remain anonymous, providing just his first name, but was candid with his own struggle with addiction. His story is no more or less than any other alcoholics spiraling descent to rock bottom.
As a biology professor, the author does an excellent job of explaining the nature of addiction and brain development. He thoroughly describes the parts of the brain affected by chemical dependence as well as how concepts like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is altered as a result.
Comparing the developmental stages of a maturing adult to the phases of addiction and recovery, the author demonstrates the parallels and juxtapositions of an addict’s evolutionary cycle.
In the second section, the author walks the reader through how he adapted the twelve steps from a religious base to developmental stages a recovering addict goes through. Having experience as both recovering addict and sponsor, he breaks down the actionable parts into manageable tidbits using his secular base as a guide.
In the end, as a recovering addict, the author came to the conclusion that although he did not experience a Spiritual Awakening as outlined in step 12 of the traditional AA program, he grew up in a sense and began taking responsibility for his actions as an adult would.
I found Twelve Secular Steps: An Addiction Recovery Guide to be a useful and informative book. I believe it would be of interest to both recovering addicts and their family members. The explanation of how an addict is moving through the stages of normal development backward was a confirmation of what I’ve seen in my own experiences with addiction.
The diagrams of the brain are simple and instructional. The visualization of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was also helpful during the discussion of that aspect of addiction. The breakdown of the benchmarks and characteristics of early childhood, young adult and mature adult was revealing as were the phases of addiction and recovery.
The recommendations that the author provides for completing each step are also instructive.
Whether you are an addict looking to work on your recovery or family or friends endeavoring to be supportive, you will find Twelve Secular Steps: An Addiction Recovery Guide an educational read.
You can read my review at Reedsy Discovery here.