The 12 Step groups are the best known of the recovery support groups. Based on the principles first established by the Alcoholics Anonymous program, addicts who participate in these groups will regularly attend support meetings where the 12 Steps that help an addict stick to a recovery plan are discussed. Those committed to recovery adopt the ideas and principles of the 12 Step philosophy: addicts are powerless over their addiction, and that by diligently working through the 12 Steps, they will be able to stop their addiction and maintain addiction recovery.
Finding a 12 Step Group
There are literally dozens of 12 Step groups. The best known are probably Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), but almost every popular addictive drug also has its own group, including Cocaine Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, etc. There are often sub-sets of these groups, like women only, gay and lesbian, men only, which allow you to find a group that aligns with your needs.
All of these addiction recovery groups use Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Steps, substituting the words "alcohol" and "alcoholism" for the drug or substance addiction they are addressing.
How 12 Step Groups Work
Membership in 12 Step groups is informal. The only requirement is a desire to stop using the addictive drug. You can become a member simply by expressing the desire to stop using. There are no membership records kept. A key principle for 12 Step groups is anonymity for members. People can attend without fear that their addiction will be revealed to anyone outside the group. There are no costs associated with membership in a 12 Step group, although the groups do accept voluntary contributions to meet their expenses.
Meetings range from small groups of two or three members to larger groups in big metropolitan areas. Some 12 step groups have 500 members or more. The style of meetings can range from speaker meetings, where one or two people share their stories from a podium, to discussion and step studies, which invite participation from those present.
Meeting schedules for 12 step groups, and directions to meeting locations, can be found on the Web. In many communities, 12 step groups are also listed in the white pages of the telephone book, usually by the name of the substance they address.