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What are the 12 Step Programs of Addiction Recovery

Photograph by Лечение Наркомании

What are the 12 Step Programs of Addiction Recovery

Addiction is one of the significant battles that confront people worldwide. While some are lucky and prevail over their addiction, others are not so fortunate and die in their struggle. Over the years, there have been several suggestions and programs on how addicts can win the war over their addiction, but the 12-Step program has so far been the most popular and most effective. In a survey carried conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, close to 74 percent of treatment centers employ the 12-Step approach in the fight against addiction.

The 12-step rehab program was created by the founder of Alcohol Anonymous group, Bill Wilson, in 1935. The 12-Step program was initially aimed at combating alcohol addiction, but the overwhelming success of the program caused other support groups and drug rehab center to follow; thus, adopting the program quickly. The program aims to offer support to addicts during the recovery process. The people who make up the program are those who are going through or have gone through similar experiences. The meetings are easily accessible, readily available, and most of the time free to join.

The primary rationale behind the program is that people can help one another recover from addiction and that healing comes after surrendering to a Higher power. For those who may struggle with the acceptance of a Higher power, alternative programs are created for them. The 12-Step program is used and trusted by millions of people around the world, and it encourages members to adopt a set of principles referred to as the 12 steps. Following the steps in order will help addicts achieve and maintain abstinence from addictions such as alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, substance use disorders, and eating disorders. The lessons and the relationships formed during these meetings can sustain an individual throughout a lifetime.

Although the initial 12-Steps propounded by Alcohol Anonymous catered for only those with alcohol addiction, the steps were later adjusted to provide to other additions. Below is the calibrated levels.

  1. Admit that you are powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable.
  2. Believe that there is a higher power than yourself that can save you.
  3. Make a decision to surrender your presence to the Higher Power, as you understand Him to be.
  4. Take a fearless moral inventory of your life
  5. Make an admission of your wrongdoing to the Higher Power, to yourself, and to another person.
  6. Submit to the Higher Power to take away any defects of character
  7. Humbly ask that the Higher power take away all of these shortcomings in your personality.
  8. Make a list of the wrongs you have done to others and be willing to make amends for them.
  9. Try to contact all those you have hurt, in an attempt to mend ways and apologize. Unless if doing so would harm the person.
  10. Continue to take personal inventory and promptly to admit when you are in the wrong.
  11. Employ prayer and meditation as tools for enlightenment and connection with the Higher power.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening through these 12 steps, you take an effort to carry this message to others who are in need.

A good number of drug rehab centers in the United States use the 12-Step program in combination with evidence-based treatment such as medical detox. People who complete drug rehab often continue participating in meetings, this is because the 12 Steps helps in keeping them focused on sobriety.

Although Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the two most popular 12-Steps support groups in the United States, there are a couple of others, these include;

– Adult Children of Alcoholics

– Food Addicts Anonymous

– Gamblers Anonymous

– Nicotine Anonymous

– Overeaters Anonymous

– Sex Addicts Anonymous

The 12 step program has helped many to cope with addiction, stay away from triggers, and live sober lives. Members of these programs admit their powerlessness over addiction, they examine their past mistakes and strive to make amends with those they may have wronged. In each of their meetings they share support and learn ways through which they can apply the 12-Step principle to their lives.

Their meetings are often held in public facilities, such as community centers, churches, and schools. They offer an avenue via which individuals can share their stories, including their past failings and victories with those in similar condition.

Since its creation, countless individuals have used these meetings to recover from their substance abuse problem. Most often, participants improve and become active, productive members of the community.

Variation of the 12 steps

Just as was mentioned above, the 12-Step model since its creation by the Alcohol Anonymous has been adopted and modified by different groups to fit their unique programs. While groups such as Narcotics Anonymous use the steps exactly as conceived by AA, a Native American group has modified the steps to suit their needs and culture. They combine the 12-Steps with the Native American concept of the Medicine Wheel to form a program specifically for indigenous Americans who are battling with addiction and alcoholism.

Another critical variation to the 12-Steps arises due to a conflict with the origin of the program. The 12-Step model has its background in Christianity. Hence some people tend not to be too comfortable with this specific religious aspect. Therefore, those who are not Christians have modified these steps to suit their particular religious or spiritual practice as a way to connect more with the structure of the program.

Aside from this, there also exist non-religious 12-Step groups that are formed to cater to addicts who are agnostic or atheist. These groups modify the steps to fit a more secular model so these people can partake in the program without being forced to subscribe to a religion they don’t believe in.

How are the meetings structured

The 12-Step sessions are available every day across the United States. Although daily attendance is not required, most people in the early stages of recovery attend these meetings several times each week. These meetings can either be open or closed to the public. For instance, open Alcohol Anonymous meetings allow family and friends of alcoholics to attend, but closed meetings are explicitly reserved for people with alcohol problems.

The meetings are led by people in recovery who are also participating in the program. Although sessions are typically free and open to the public, participants are anonymous. They are only required to share their first name with the group, after which they may share their stories, which could include recent positive experiences or conflicts.

by Yamini

Andreas Michaelides

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