Key Information About 12-Step Programs
The 12-Step Program Has Been Around Since 1935
This program was first created in 1935 in an effort to create a standardized recovery plan that could be used by groups throughout the country. The idea was to make it easier for fellowship groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to have a common goal to work toward. In 1946, the 12 Principles were added as a corollary to this program in an effort to further unite those who were seeking to live a life free from addiction.
What Are the 12 Steps?
As originally written, the first of the 12 steps requires a person to acknowledge that his or her life is unmanageable because of an addiction to drugs, alcohol or any other vice. After acknowledging this to be the case, the program then asserts that the only way an addict can achieve sobriety is to believe in a higher power. Believing in a higher power makes it possible for that person or entity to remove defects in an addict’s character that has led to a dependency on drugs or alcohol.
After turning your life over to a power greater than yourself, you are then asked to mediate, pray or otherwise communicate with this force on a regular basis. The goal is to take an honest inventory of your faults and what you can do to overcome them. In addition, you will be asked to continuously take stock of your character flaws so that you can avoid taking actions that will hurt yourself and others.
Understanding your faults will also put you in a better position to apologize to those who you have hurt in the past. These individuals may include colleagues, family members or close friends who you stole money from or were physically abusive toward. Ideally, you will make amends in person if at all possible. However, you can do so electronically or by other means if this is the only way to complete this step without compromising your physical or mental health.
Finally, you will take the knowledge that you have gained from your own journey and use it to help others. You can fulfill this obligation by speaking at weekly AA meetings or by sharing your story in private to others who may not be ready to seek help. The goal is to act as a missionary spreading the good news about living life free of addiction.
The 12-Step Program Has Adapted With the Times
When it was first conceived, this program made multiple specific references to God as the higher power that people should turn their lives over to. Understandably, this turned some people off as they didn’t necessarily believe in God or didn’t necessarily believe in such an entity in the way that it was traditionally presented.
The good news is that the language accompanying each step has been modified to appeal to a more secular audience. Most notably, instead of turning your life over to God, you can turn your life over to any power other than yourself. This power could be a trusted friend, a medical professional or anything else that you believe can help you obtain and maintain a sober lifestyle.
If you do believe in God, the program still makes allowances for the fact that there are many different ways in which to do so. Typically, references to God are now accompanied with the words as you understand Him. This type of phrasing may also be more palatable to those who are agnostic in their beliefs. Agnostics are people who aren’t sure if God exists but are open to the idea of this being true.
You’ll Likely Encounter These Principles Wherever You Get Help
It’s important to note that the 12-step program is just one roadmap for the journey from addict to sober member of society. Therefore, you can certainly overcome your addiction without adhering to every step or without adhering to every step as it is written.
However, it’s also worth noting that the principles espoused by this program are principles that most groups will use. This is because they are generally the cornerstones of being successful at almost anything that you’ll do in life.
For example, it’s extremely difficult to overcome an addiction unless you’re willing to admit that you have a problem and need help. Going to rehab simply to keep your job, prevent your spouse from leaving or avoiding jail time is generally a recipe for failure.
Getting sober also means that you’ll have to take responsibility for your past actions. It may take months, years or decades to truly make amends to those who you hurt and get back in their good graces. This is partially because an addict never truly recovers. Even if you are several years sober, you could relapse without warning, which could cause people in your life to once again question your sincerity as it relates to getting better.
Therefore, you will need to be proactive in ensuring that you recognize your triggers and that you’re taking steps to avoid them. For instance, it may be necessary to avoid friends who use alcohol or avoid parts of town where you know drugs are widely available.
12-Step Programs Can Be Used as a Part of Your Overall Treatment Regiment
One of the primary benefits of the 12-step program is that you can get started while still enrolled in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Research has shown that embracing the concepts of this program can have a positive effect as it relates to changing how you think of yourself and the world in general.
Instead of thinking that you are beyond repair, the program teaches you that your addiction is no different than any other medical condition a person might have. By gaining a better understanding of what you are up against, your odds of achieving sobriety tend to go up, and this is true whether you follow the plan verbatim or if you adjust them to fit your needs.
Although this type of program is designed for alcoholics, it is often used by people who are addicted to painkillers, heroin or anything else that might contain opioids. If you are addicted to opioids, you may have to take substances such as methadone or suboxone to help keep your cravings to a minimum. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to take these substances for the rest of your life.
Therefore, merely talking to other people about your experiences may not be enough to help keep you sober. Fortunately, the 12-step program is designed to meet your needs and be of value to you even if you can’t overcome a drug problem without additional assistance.
If you are ready to overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol, give the folks at Allure Detox a call today. There are a variety of programs available that are tailored to meet your needs and maximize your chances of success. It’s possible that your insurance policy will cover some or all of the cost of treatment. You can learn about payment options and other plan details during an initial consultation.