Step 1: Awareness!
This step is probably one of the most difficult to acknowledge for the alcoholic or addict. Long before a person realizes it, the grip of addiction has taken hold. At first, there may be occasional “problems,” such as a minor accident due to drinking, or the person may notice it takes more and more of a substance to achieve the desired result. What usually happens then, is there are excuses, such as, “It’s not that bad.” “My habit or behavior is not as bad as ____________.” “I just need to sleep, or I just need to relax.”

Step 2: Admit!
Soon there may be family or friends who are confronting the person and who are concerned with the behaviors. If the person continues to use, the problems around using the substance or the behaviors (legal or job or relationships) increase. At this point, if the person can acknowledge the reality of what is happening, even to himself, he is on his way to a solution.

Step 3: Accept! Acknowledge (own the problem).
This is a huge turning point. The minute the person stops blaming people, circumstances, events, his environment, etc, he has begun the upward journey to a lasting solution. To own the problem takes a person out of the role of victim and empowers him to seek a different solution to the problems of living. In 12 step rooms, you will learn that, until you can own the problem, there is no solution. “As long as I make YOU responsible for MY happiness, I am impotent/defeated.”

Step 4: Ask for help!
Find people who have achieved victory over addiction. Ask them how they did it. There are numerous paths to sobriety/getting clean/recovery and many free groups, from AA to churches to smart recovery.

Step 5: Action!
Until the person takes action and makes a change, he will continue to repeat the old patterns that keep him imprisoned. The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous  (The basis of 12 step programs) provide a design for living that, if implemented, have proved successful for millions. There are many other programs that can add richness to recovery.  For more about addiction, recovery and 12 step programs, get your free book Overcome Addiction Now.

Author's Bio: 

Sandra Lenington, MA is an authority on the psychology of recovery with a purpose of assisting others to experience the psychic change that is sufficient to assure a life of irresistible joy and balance. As a life-long learner and lover of new and fun techniques, she insists that recovery be joyful...otherwise, why do it? The bottom line? If it doesn't work, try something else!

She also trains other coaches and previously has worked as a physical therapist as well as having owned several companies that develop websites; she has worked for NASA as a research engineer.