The 12 step substance abuse recovery program is basically an advanced version of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). This type of support group actually dates back to the 1930s in Akron, Ohio. While Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other support groups are faith-based, the 12 step substance abuse recovery program is spiritual-based. Members believe in a higher power, but the identity of a higher power can remain ambiguous. It could be a spiritual being or a specific god. It really doesn’t matter what members believe in.
Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12 step program caters to both alcoholics and drug addicts. Anyone who struggles with a substance abuse disorder is free to join. The purpose of this support group is to cleanse the body, spirit and mind. Members also get plenty of support to help them continue on their adventure to recovery. These support groups also often share plenty of resources that help addicts get sober. They deal with all types of alcohol and drug abuse.
The Twelve Steps Of The 12 Step Program
The 12 step program follows twelve very simple rules and steps. Members attempt to follow all twelve steps for a successful recovery. In most cases, members learn how to live the steps. They move onto the next step once they have understand and gain experience practicing the spiritual principle behind the step before. The twelve steps of the program include:
- Having to admit that you are powerless over drugs or alcohol
- Believing in a power greater than yourself to help you recover
- Making a decision to let a power greater than yourself run your life
- Exploring your own flaws and conducting a moral inventory in a fearless manner
- Admitting to not only yourself, but to others about the exact nature of your wrongdoings
- Preparing yourself for a higher power to rid you of your flaws
- Asking a greater power to get rid of all your flaws
- Making a list of all the people that you’ve harmed and be open to making amends with them
- Directly making amends with those who were impacted with your addiction to alcohol and drugs
- Continuing to take note of your own wrongdoings in an attempt to improve
- Learning how to become more self-aware through prayer and meditation
- Giving back by helping others with their recovery and practicing spiritual principles in you life
The twelve steps of the 12 step program can be difficult to follow. They are spiritual mile-markers that can help many drug addicts stay on the road to recovery. The goal of the 12 step program is to learn how to not only believe in yourself, but also in a higher power. The twelve steps help many drug abusers rebuild their relationship with family members and friends.
Higher Power In The 12 Step Substance Abuse Recovery Program
The 12 step substance abuse recovery program uses the term ‘higher power’ because it cannot be easily defined. Members can interpret the concept any way that they wish. For example, Christians may envision Jesus Christ, while Buddhists can envision Buddha. People of all religions and spiritual beliefs can take part in the 12 step program.
Most members will envision Jesus Christ. This is because 83% of Americans identify as Christians. Many other Americans identify as Buddhists, as followers of Islam or as Judaists. Regardless of one’s religious identity, it’s possible to join a 12 step program. Most groups won’t care about one’s religion. However, there are some groups that are geared towards certain religions. These groups may also incorporate prayers or readings into their meetings. If that’s something you’re comfortable with, the routines may help you maintain discipline and abstain from drugs or alcohol.
Atheists can also take part in the 12 step program. Instead of envisioning the higher power as a god, it can be the power of the group. The higher power can also be the impersonal force of nature. The only rule is that the higher power must be greater than oneself.
Benefits Of Believing In A Higher Power
So, why exactly do 12 step substance abuse recovery programs need a higher power? The answer lies in the fact that life often becomes easier when people believe in a power greater than themselves. Some of the benefits of believing in a higher power include:
- Feeling as if you’re stronger and more capable
- Feeling comforted by the feeling that there’s someone looking out for you
- Being able to forgive other more easily
- Being able to hand over the substance abuse addiction to a higher power when things get too challenging to handle
- Having faith that if you do the right thing then good things will happen to you
- Learning humility and becoming self-aware of your attitude
- Having a new sense of purpose in life
- Having a more stable mental health condition
These reasons are probably why many addiction recovery treatment programs are backed up by religious or spiritual beliefs. It’s also why the 12 step program relies heavily on there being a ‘higher power’. For those who aren’t sure how their faith can be incorporated into addiction treatment, attending a 12 step meeting may help. These meetings often explore the relationships between faith and addiction. The meetings can strengthen one’s faith.
Although the effectiveness of 12 step programs will vary, the New York Times has claimed that as many as 75% of participants who go through the program remain abstinent. That’s quite high, considering the fact that even drug addicts who go through drug rehab are likely to relapse. This is why many addiction specialists at a recovery center will recommend trying the 12 step program.
What Happens During A 12 Step Recovery Program
The 12 step recovery program is essentially a group meeting. Members meet once a week or more to discuss their status or concerns with addiction. The meetings are open to everyone and anyone. Members can talk to anyone that they’d like. When they speak, they address everyone.
In most cases, there will be a speaker who hosts the meetings. The speaker will be in charge of making sure that the meeting occurs in an appropriate fashion. Some of these treatment programs offer food and beverages. They have a very welcoming and homely vibe to them.
Types of Meetings Involved With The 12 Step Approach
Not all meetings are the same. Different 12 step approaches are taken to reach sobriety. Some of the most basic meeting types that are involved with the 12 step approach include:
- Speaker meetings. These meetings will have a primary speaker who is responsible for sharing their experiences. Speaker meetings are also a great place for members to share their experience with drug or alcohol abuse.
- Step meetings. These meetings discuss the details of each step. They also deal with the tricks and tips involved with each step of the addiction treatment programs.
- Discussion meetings. These meetings often focus on subjects that are unrelated to alcohol or drug use.
If you’re helping a loved one deal with their drug use, encourage them to go to a 12 step recovery program meeting. Some of these meetings also welcome family members and friends of the drug addict.
Other than opened meetings, there are also closed meetings. These meetings are often reserved for certain groups of people. They help create a safe environment where members can discuss their private matters. For best results, try to join the same meeting at the same time of day. This helps you build rapport among the other members. The meetings will feel a lot more personal.