What are the 12 Step Recovery Programs And Are They Right For You?
The 12 Steps were developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous as a set of rules for overcoming an addiction to alcohol. Early on, the method was successful enough for other addiction support groups to modify the stages to fit their particular substance or addictive behavior.
And until the 1970s 12 step recovery programs were the only choice of its kind for those in recovery, but today there are many options for those who don’t connect with their focus on a higher power. The first 12-step program was Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which served as the model for subsequent 12-step programs like:
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a support group for drug addicts.
- For those who are battling dysfunctional relationship patterns, there is Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA).
- For those suffering from bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders, there is Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA).
- For those with gambling addictions, there is Gambling Anonymous (GA).
- For those with sex addictions, there is Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA).
There is no wrong way to approach the 12 steps as the participant determines along the way what is most effective for their particular circumstances because recovery is a lifelong process.
In reality, the majority of participants discover that as their recovery progresses, they may need to go through some steps again or even take on more than one step at once. It is said that a 12-Step program is built around Steps 1, 2, and 3, which should be practiced every day.
The 12 steps according to Alcoholics Anonymous are the following:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.
Benefits of the 12 Step Recovery Programs
Without a plan, maintaining sobriety is all but impossible, however, the 12-step recovery programs provides participants with a plan of action to move forward. With the assistance of a sponsor, you begin with step one, recognizing your helplessness against the addiction, and progress through each step as often as necessary. The steps urge you to examine your addiction’s driving forces, make apologies to people it has wronged, and work toward a spiritual awakening that will give you humility, honesty, and a desire to be of service to others.
People who had been living in the disarray and chaos of addiction are given structure and routine by attending the groups of the 12-step recovery programs. Unstructured time can be risky for many people in recovery because it can cause anxiety, boredom, restlessness, and cravings for the addictive substance.
Drawbacks of 12 Step Recovery Programs
The 12-step program is very well-liked, yet many people have issues with it. These often fall into three categories: evidence suggesting dubious effectiveness; the fundamental role of spirituality and faith; and the possibility of coercion among attendees.
Finding a successful non-12-step alternative to AA or other non-religious addiction meetings may be challenging because 12-step groups are receiving the majority of the attention. So to address the latter, a 2018 study that was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment examined the efficacy of 12-step and non-12-step programs.
It was discovered that participants in the mutual assistance, and nonreligious alcohol support groups showed comparable levels of involvement and activity to those in the AA 12-step groups, but had higher levels of satisfaction and cohesion.
It also found significant demographic characteristics, such as the fact that mutual support group participants were less religious, more affluent, and less dedicated to abstinence from alcohol, suggesting that they would be more interested in moderation.
Looking for help?
Recovery is a lifelong process that is difficult to sustain on your own which is why almost all programs for addiction recovery promote building strong support rooted in guidance and trust. You need genuine support from people who know what you’re going through with guidance and treatment from professionals. Contact R&R Recovery IOP Treatment in Huntington Beach for options, consultation, and more.