What Can I Expect From a 12-Step Program?

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Many of those in recovery can benefit from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or other variations on the 12-step model of addiction recovery. These groups can benefit those struggling with addiction by providing a sense of community in recovery while encouraging participants to find purpose in their lives. Twelve-step groups offer a supportive environment for participants to work through the steps of the program while hearing stories from others. Many people find that the support and sense of community can help them succeed in their recovery. If you are new to recovery and looking for treatment options, 12-step programs are readily accessible in most parts of the world. There are even online support groups and apps that can help those in recovery begin working the steps of these recovery support models.

Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most widely known of the 12-step groups. Most other 12-step groups get their programming and philosophies from AA. Other groups may vary in terms of addictions they are addressing such as narcotics, sexual activity, gambling, or other compulsive behaviors. There are 12-step groups for family members of those addicted, like Al-Anon, which helps those affected by an addicted member of their family. Groups for adolescents, like Alateen, are also helpful for younger people struggling with dysfunctional family lives as a result of addiction. 

The 12-Steps and Knowing What to Expect

When attending a new 12-step group, you may be asked to introduce yourself and encouraged to share your story of addiction. You can also choose to listen to others speak and often each meeting will focus on a specific topic of recovery. Members may read passages from handbooks on recovery or share other helpful articles. Remember to respect the anonymity and privacy of other members, as they will also be respecting your privacy. Phone apps can bring some of the information from meetings right to you. Phone apps may have daily reflections that you can read each day as you would during a meeting. Apps can also connect you to local meetings in your area or provide support by connecting you with others to speak with.

The 12-steps focus on key concepts while breaking the main concepts down into more manageable steps for you to work through. Key concepts of 12-step groups include:

  • Acceptance
    • Acceptance is the beginning of change. By accepting that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you can begin the recovery process.
    • Denial is the opposite of acceptance. If you are still in denial of how your addiction has negatively impacted your life, you may not be ready for recovery. 
    • Everyone struggles with acceptance. Early in recovery, you may have a difficult time accepting the full weight and consequences of your behaviors. 
    • Remember that recovery is a process. You may need time in the group to fully accept how your behavior has impacted you and your loved ones.
  • Surrendering control
    • One of the key elements in 12-step programs is about giving your control over to a higher power or a power greater than yourself.
    • This is not necessarily about any specific religious belief. The idea of surrendering your control means that you let go and acknowledge that you cannot get your life in order alone.
    • Some people in recovery may struggle with their problems because they try to be entirely self-reliant and never ask for help. Surrendering your control means accepting the support and help of the 12-step group to get your life back in order.
  • Involvement
    • Going to meetings and working through the 12-steps means that you must actively participate.
    • Being involved and committed to the 12-step program may be necessary for your success in recovery.
    • Remember to take things one day at a time. Recovery from addiction is a journey for a lifetime of happiness and good health.
    • Using apps or other electronic means of staying involved may help if you are struggling in the moment or unable to attend a meeting in person.

The 12-steps focus on improving various areas of your life that may need repair due to your addiction. Participants in 12-step programs work on making amends for past behaviors, learning to admit your mistakes and flaws, self-reflection and introspection, and seeking to help others in recovery. Twelve-step programs may not work for everyone, as each person responds differently to therapeutic approaches in recovery. Those who benefit from 12-step programs often cite the fellowship and support of their peers in recovery as being one of the most important factors in their recovery. If you are struggling with addiction and are unsure of where to turn for support, 12-step groups may be an option for you to find support and guidance. Recovery and freedom from addiction are available to all suffering. Reach out for support today!

Twelve-step support groups can help those dealing with a number of different addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, or behaviors, like sex and gambling. Twelve-step programs focus on acceptance of the problem, surrendering control, and remaining actively involved in the recovery community. Members of 12-step groups find that the support and fellowship involved in the groups help them feel less alone and provide a resource for guidance. Self-reflection, admitting mistakes, and atoning for past behaviors can help those in recovery learn from their past to move forward. Twelve-step programs, however, may not work for everyone. Many treatment centers encourage clients to seek any type of support that will work best for them. Everlast Recovery Centers can introduce you to 12-step programs or other types of recovery support groups. We are here to help you find the best approach to address your needs. Call us today at 866-DETOX-25 to get started in recovery!

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