12-Step programs are a set of “guiding principles” that help individuals recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. The steps were first put into motion through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which was developed in 1935. Today, the steps serve as the foundation of AA and are utilized in Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon groups.
Millions of people have recovered from drug and alcohol addiction with the help of the 12-Steps. The 12-step program encourages personal inventory and making amends. Each step is designed to lead recovering users towards a spiritual awakening.
Today, there are more than 1 million members of AA worldwide. Narcotics Anonymous is currently practiced in 144 countries and has hosted over 70,000 meetings.
Why Should You Go To a 12-Step Program?
You have heard of 12-Step programs being held in communities throughout the world. You may not know exactly why programs like AA and NA resonate with people so much. But gathering information on what the 12-Step are and why they are important will change your life.
So, why should you go to a 12-Step Program? Consider the following.
Structure and Support
It is a common misconception that recovering addicts who obtain professional treatment are “all better.” In fact, it is often the opposite. The threat of drug and alcohol abuse is eliminated, but recovery can be challenging in itself. Having structure and support in your daily life is essential. A 12-Step program offers you structure through weekly meetings. The steps provide a sense of structure, as you go from one step to the next to achieve progress. Support is obtained through other members of the 12-Step program. You have the chance to share your insights while listening to those of others.
During active addiction, you used drugs to numb your feelings and emotions. Now that you are in recovery, you can not numb your emotions with substance abuse. At a 12-Step program, you will learn to manage your feelings and regulate your emotions without drugs or alcohol. For starters, you have the opportunity to share how you are feeling on a regular basis. Having an outlet to discuss your emotions will prevent you from burying them inside and lashing out. As you share in the group, you will garner the attention of others who can relate and support you. Some emotions are overwhelming to deal with. Having a network of people who can understand those emotions can keep you emotionally healthy. As you continue your way through a 12-Step program, you will develop emotional intelligence. That intelligence can help you express yourself and know how to label your emotions.
Similar to your emotions, your ability to be accountable faded into the background while you were using. As you make your way through recovery, you will develop accountability. First, being accountable to yourself is vital in recovery. Being accountable to others is just as imperative. A 12-Step program immediately provides participants with a sense of accountability to each other. You cannot get the most out of a 12-Step program without the help of others. Therefore, your commitment to meetings is your way of being accountable to the group. You will learn how to stay accountable to yourself by working the steps. For example, one step will ask you to take a “fearless moral inventory” of your wrongdoings. This is one of the first times you will be encouraged to take accountability for your actions. Holding yourself accountable is one of the most effective ways to prevent relapse.
The whole 12-Step program is based on service — service to oneself and others. Your participation in a 12-Step group will allow you to be of service to others. Even just going to meetings and offering support for others is an excellent way to serve. In many meetings, participants work to be of service by doing things for the whole group. For example, you might be responsible for bringing in the coffee for the meeting. While this is a small way to serve, it can make a major difference in your recovery trajectory. In addition, thinking outside of yourself to bring others along in your journey can be humbling. And, humility is an excellent quality to help keep you from going back to abusing drugs or alcohol.
What are the 12 Steps?
The 12 Steps are as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it
- Sought through prayers 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
Get Professional Addiction Treatment Right Now
If you struggle with a substance use disorder, know that you are not alone. We will help you overcome the challenges you are facing because of your use. A life of recovery is right around the corner. Let us help you by calling us right now.