Admitting that you have a problem with alcohol or drugs is the first step towards recovery. 12-step programs are a major factor in a successful journey to sobriety. These programs offer information and support for the recovering alcoholic and/or addict. The only requirement to becoming a member of a 12-step program is the desire to stop drinking or drugging.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), as well as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other 12-step programs, deal with alcohol or substance abuse. Many other subset programs, like Methadone Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous, also exist to help people address other addictive behaviors.
12-Step Program Basics
Programs like AA are nonprofit organizations. The goal of the programs is to help a person recover from an addiction. They also work to help the recovering addict develop a different way of life in their newly clean life.
12-step programs have a spiritual foundation to help an individual recover from an addiction. At meetings, AA members share their personal experiences and concerns about drinking or taking drugs. They also listen to other people’s experiences and learn the guiding principles that the program teaches for successful recovery.
The simplified lessons of the 12-steps of recovery in numerical order are:
- Soul Searching
- Making contact
According to the American Psychological Association, these are the condensed lessons that must be learned by addicts in order to achieve recovery:
- Admitting that their addiction is out of control
- Recognizing a Higher Power
- Examining past mistakes
- Making amends for past mistakes
- Learning a new way of life
- Helping others who suffer from the same addiction
How It Works
A 12-step program member learns to turn drinking over to a Higher Power. They have the support and guidance of a sponsor, who is a 12-Step program mentor with a substantial record of sobriety. A sponsor is only a phone call away, and ready to offer help and support.
All the steps of the program are examined, dissected, discussed and put into practice by the member, with the support of the group and an individual sponsor. Attending meetings on a regular basis and staying in contact with their support system is critical to recovery.
How It Can Help
Meetings offer hope and support to the members of the group. They make the person take an honest look at their behavior and actions. The daily mind, body and spiritual support of a 12-step program are important to maintaining sobriety. The programs make the user aware of what types of behaviors they have that may be a concern for relapse.
Members of a 12-step program learn to acknowledge their mistakes and take the proper action to address them. It helps them amend any damage they have caused in their life and relationships. The peer support is critical. It allows life learning through the experiences of others.
The basis of the 12-step program helps an addict along the journey of recovery from dependency on drugs or alcohol. It is important that the member learns that recovery is a process, not a cure.