Is a 12-Step Program Right for Me?

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The 12-Step program is a well-known and popular approach to addiction recovery. 12-Step practices and mantras have stood as a testament to the healing potential that such an approach contains. However, that doesn’t mean that the 12-Step program is necessarily right for each individual. There can be a lot of nuances in each individual’s own strengths, weaknesses, and responses to particular recovery strategies. 

The 12-Step program is one option available to those looking to take their first step forward through their own recovery journey, and understanding what the 12-Step program is and how it is approached can help educate each individual in finding the path to sobriety that best fits their unique goals and needs in their path to sobriety. 

What Is the 12-Step Program?

The 12-Step program is a kind of group therapy dictated around the titular 12-Steps to attain and maintain sobriety from addictive substances. These range from the First Step of admitting of one’s powerlessness over an addictive substance and how they have relinquished control of their own lives to the behest of these substances, to making lists of individuals most closely affected by one’s use and making right on those relationships, and achieving a kind of spiritual awakening to help dictate one’s new sober life in regards to their substance use and identity.

While the 12-Step program is often equivocated with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there are also several other approaches to the program that can aid in a wider variety of addictions, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Heroin Anonymous (HA),  and Gambler’s Anonymous (GA), among others, that can help each person in finding a path to recovery directed at their personal hurdles in recovery. 

On the Spiritual Component of 12-Step Programs

For many, the 12-Step program is intimately intertwined with a spiritual and religious connotation and is especially associated with Christianity. Those who are not religious or who actively practice other religions might be turned off by the notion that such a religious context is necessary for their recovery. However, regardless of this connotation, there is no requirement that an individual must be an active, practicing Christian to glean an abundance of useful information from the program. Rather, the only agreed-upon requirement for joining a 12-Step program is a dedication to address and overcome one’s addiction, and such a notion has no stake in any one religion or demographic. 

However, even accepting that such a religious approach to addiction recovery exists can be a barrier in its own right, and even though 12-Step programs are still open to those who do not actively practice religion can still feel a wall between themselves and their progress through this approach and may be resistant in their recovery because of it. There is nothing wrong with this particular mentality and, regardless of the reason, if an individual doesn’t feel like they are an accepted, active, and treasured member of any recovery community, it may be beneficial to look elsewhere for a more conducive sober tribe. 

The idea of a “spiritual awakening” of some sort can also be a barrier in this regard, and the language of the 12-Steps can create these connotations that may not exist in practice. Even the idea of a “spiritual awakening” can feel enigmatic. While it shares great similarities with the idea of “self-actualization” in accordance with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the language used can be difficult to process. While other programs, group therapies, or treatment facilities may adopt similar goals as the 12-Step program, the language and context therein can be very different, which for some can help ease one’s transition to feeling comfortable within the recovery sphere.

Never Losing Sight of Discovery

Addiction recovery is an incredibly personal journey, and the personal discoveries made throughout the process can define each individual’s success throughout their own path. Whether it be a 12-Step program or otherwise, beginning in any kind of recovery program doesn’t signal the dismissal of the discovery part of recovery. It is important to always look for ways to modify, adjust, or otherwise fine-tune one’s recovery path. Making these adjustments isn’t indicative of one’s inability to recover but rather of introspective considerations that can help make their journey their own. 

The considerations of a 12-Step program extend far beyond their own bounds; that is, that the only thing that anyone needs for certain to find their own recovery path is the desire and motivation to attain and maintain sobriety. It is possible that the spiritual barriers or particular group sessions are not effective for a particular person, but the notion of recovery for one’s own sake extends to all recovery programs, and 12-Step programs are just one option that is available to approach one’s own story of sobriety. 

The 12-Step program is a tried and true recovery approach that can aid many people in their difficult journey to sobriety. However, it is not the only way you can recover, and having the option to explore your own recovery path is very impactful. At Everlast Recovery, we acknowledge the 12-Step program as the effective option that it is and offer it as a resource for you to explore throughout our programs, as well as in residential treatment. However, our array of other programs ensures that there are always new options for you to explore, such as equine therapy, art therapy, music therapy, mindfulness, yoga, and much more. Each option is available to help you craft your own unique recovery experience and identify what is most pertinent to your unique needs and goals. For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique experience, call us today at (866) 338-6925.

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