“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Since the 1930’s, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has remained a powerful program that has helped countless individuals get sober and stay sober. By the 1950’s, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) was established to help those who were addicted to narcotics as opposed to alcohol. Both AA and NA still reign supreme as some of the most effective ways to continue to achieve success in recovery.
AA and NA follow 12 different steps that serve as a guideline for effectively managing life in recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. The infamous 12-Steps, which are also used in other support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous, include the following:
- We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
- Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out
- Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs
Each and every 12-Step meeting will utilize these steps as not only a guideline for a way of life but also as a way to help inspire effective discussion.
There are several misconceptions about what a 12-Step meeting is. What it is not is a place where all participants have to outwardly say, “Hi, my name is (name) and I am an alcoholic/addict.” It is not a place where individuals are forced to share opinions and experiences, and it is certainly not a place where those involved strive to push religious beliefs on anyone.
In fact, 12-Step meetings are usually open to the public and welcome anyone who has the desire to stop drinking and/or abusing drugs. They encourage all participants to key into their higher power of their understanding, however, do not dictate what that higher power has to be. They allow people to share at their own pace and encourage individual conversations with others either before or after the meeting. For most, 12-Step meetings are non-threatening places where understanding, expression, and healing can occur.
Each 12-Step meeting has its own “flavor.” For instance, one meeting might allow for roundtable-like sharing, while another meeting might be led by one person for the entire time. Individuals who are attending 12-Step meetings are encouraged to go to several different meetings to find the ones that he or she meshes with best. This is because someone who is highly outspoken might not feel comfortable in a meeting that is led by a speaker, but rather a meeting where he or she will have an opportunity to speak and share, and vice versa.
Benefits of 12-Step Meetings
The overall recovery benefits of attending 12-Step meetings are innumerable. For starters, there is no other program around that promotes such strong, consistent support for those who are striving to get sober or who are in recovery and looking to maintain it. It is through these groups that people who are grappling with the disease of addiction can find strength and support from others who understand exactly what they are going through.
Additionally, simply listening to others talk about their experiences and how they handle troubling situations can help others develop new coping skills, insights, and confidence in relation to his or her own situation and process. Also, sharing one’s own experiences can help others do the same. The reward of being helped and then helping someone else is meaningful and valued in these groups.
Above all else, the greatest benefit of attending 12-Step meetings is that it can help everyone involved stay sober. As simple as it sounds, resisting urges and cravings to use again can be hard enough, so going to a meeting to stop picking up their next drink or drug is often most beneficial to those participating in recovery.
The longer one stays connected to 12-Step meetings, the more likely he or she is to remain sober.
If you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, you are not alone. Millions of people struggle with the same challenges your face every single day. There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about having a disease. Thankfully, there is treatment to help manage it.
We can help you get your start on the road to recovery by providing you with several different evidence-based treatments proven to affect change. And, even when you finish your treatment with us, there is still a great deal of support out in the real world, such as 12-Step meetings.
So, do not wait any longer. Do not give in to your cravings. Do not convince yourself that you are ok. Getting help is the only way out of addiction. Contact us right now so that you can begin to develop your own recovery journey. Hopefully, with the right amount of determination, you can go on to live a life that is filled with happiness, good health, and fulfillment.
Call us today. We can help you make your addiction a thing of the past.