For many, “Twelve-Step” programs have offered effective guidelines for personal change. Alcoholics Anonymous is the prototype of these programs, but the Twelve Steps have been adapted to help with many other human problems. Perhaps we can also modify them to suit our needs as isolated physicians.

The principles of these Twelve Steps are not offered in a hypothetical sense. They are practical, and are in use. There are many physicians worldwide who, because they have other problems which have introduced them to a Twelve-Step way of life, have learned lessons very much like the ones described here. The individuals who maintain a life-long adherence to principles such as these are our inspiration. They experience the richness and joys of life to an extent previously uncontemplated. And the best part of it is that their acceptance of everything life has to offer, their serenity, peace, and restored humanity, is available to any of us. All we have to do is ask.

Here are the “Building Healthy Attitudes & Coping Strategies" complete version of the "12 STEPS for Health Professionals" by Dr. Michael Kaufmann, Medical Director OMA's Physician Health Program.

Step 1: "we admitted difficulty living as a medical professional only, that problems arise from this single focus in life".
OMR, 1999-11; 66 (10): 40-41

Steps 2 & 3: "accepting help and support to restore physical, mental, social and spiritual health; turning our care over to our fellows, who have learned these lessons".
OMR, 1999-12; 66 (11): 48-9

Steps 4 & 5: "making a person inventory of our problems, strengths, goals and dreams; sharing our list with trusted others".
OMR, 2000-01; 67 (1): 54-6.

Steps 6 & 7: "accepting the help available to address our basic human needs; seeking to correct the shortcomings in our lives".
OMR, 2000-02; 67 (2): 60-1.

Steps 8 & 9: "making a list of all persons and institutions we resent; making direct amends where necessary".
OMR, 2000-03; 67 (2): 67.

Steps 10 & 11: "we continue to monitor internal feelings and needs; we remain open and responsive to help from others".
OMR, 2000-04; 67 (4): 84-5.

Step 12: "we try to carry our message of personal revitalization to others in our lives, and practise these principles in all our affairs".
OMR, 2000-05; 67 (5): 56-7.


Rehumanizing: overcoming personal and professional isolation.
[comments in OMR 1999 Dec:66(11):12]. OMR, 1999-10; 66 (9): 44-45.


The above articles entitled "12 steps toward healthier attitudes and coping strategies" first appeared in November 1999 issue (see above) of the Ontario Medical Review and are reproduced to post online, with the permission of the Ontario Medical Association.




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