It’s easy to look at recovery as merely a set of chemical processes taking place in the body. Your brain chemistry and other vitals regain equilibrium after eliminating drugs or alcohol. But the 12 Step program teaches that recovery takes place not just in the mind and body. It also occurs on emotional and spiritual levels.
What Did Alcoholics Anonymous Discover in the 1930s That’s Still True Today?
Many people seeking recovery know about the 12 Step program. Few realize that these 12 steps of recovery date back to the 1930s. Two men in recovery put together a system they based on a spiritually motivated support group.
After sharing these experiences, more men were able to celebrate sobriety. The two established Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and published the 12 Step program to benefit others. The book takes a stand and goes on to explain that only abstinence is the solution to alcohol abuse. Reaching abstinence requires someone to find a power greater than oneself.
This level of surrender is a foreign concept for many who consider themselves to be self-sufficient. It also requires someone who chose self-isolation to break away from that habit in order to experience the program’s group philosophy. The 12 Steps frequently cause people in recovery to reach out to friends and family members. Since this has been the case now for decades, the timeless quality of the program is evident.
Since the 1930s, AA’s program went on to help countless individuals suffering from all types of substance abuse. The tenets translate well for use with drugs or process addictions, too. It’s important to note that a 12 Step program’s higher power does not specifically name a god. Instead, participants have the freedom to insert their own understandings of who or what a higher power may be.
This important distinction makes the 12 Steps as suitable for agnostics as it does for feminists – and everyone else.
Must Know Facts and Data about 12 Step Program Participation
The understanding of the 12 Steps of recovery, in abbreviated form, specifies the following:
- A substance has taken control of your life
- A higher power can help you to regain your life
- A decision to entrust the higher power with your will and life and enlists its assistance
- A list of personal shortcomings shows areas that need improvement
- An admission to the higher power, yourself, and to others where you’ve done wrong
- A readiness to have the higher power rid you of these wrongs and give you a fresh start
- A verbalized interaction with the higher power that expresses the desire to do so
- A listing of all people you’ve hurt with an eye on righting these wrongs
- An active redress of these wrongs when it’s possible to do so
- A continued personal inventory of mistakes and a quick willingness to admit them
- Sustained communication with the higher power to ask for the ability to live a life following these precepts
- A commitment to help others follow the 12 Steps of recovery and apply them to daily life situations
What makes these steps so useful for recovering from substance abuse is the simplicity of the directions. There’s no requirement to take on impossible tasks or adhere to a different philosophy or method of thought. The notion of a higher power is universal and, therefore, possible to apply universally. A 12 Step program is also the ideal vehicle for admitting that you don’t have control of your addiction.
The 12 Steps a counter-cultural understanding when you consider that plenty of people still don’t recognize addiction as a disease. Another reason for the timeless application of the 12 Steps of recovery is the requirement to make changes. Life changes are desired outcomes of the addiction counseling you participate in at a rehab facility.
Why Does the Program Help So Many People?
As mentioned previously, the 12 Step program is not religion-specific. The idea of looking outside oneself for guidance and support is a hallmark of recovery. Within a rehab setting, program participants collaborate with therapists and counselors to overcome addiction. Doing so requires trust and the willingness to accept guidance.
When you add a family therapy component to the mix, you can expand on the collaboration aspect. This is as true for couples’ therapy as it is for rebuilding relationships with grown children. Unless you’re willing to accept guidance and ask for support, these relationships cannot heal. Without this healing, it’s possible to jeopardize your goal of lifelong sobriety.
Another reason why the 12 Steps have such a high success rate is the introduction of physical, mental, and spiritual components. At Healing Springs Ranch we call it the “bio-psycho-social” connection to recovery. Within our rehab setting, there’s the Integrated Addiction Model, which emphasizes the importance of treating all facets of addiction. These range from multiple addictions to the presence of one or more mental health issues. Treatment only results in success when program participants receive help for all conditions – not just one.
By making every aspect of your wellness an area where therapists may provide guidance, you succeed in turning your life around.
Rehab applies the concepts of the 12 Step program in addition to the tenets of the Integrated Addiction Model. High-quality rehab facilities also add practical living instruction. Case in point is Healing Springs Ranch. Within this program approach, you experience core concept adjustment opportunities such as:
- Exercise and personal fitness to achieve a healthy lifestyle
- Diet and nutrition that help those in recovery to assist their bodies with healing
- Living in conscious awareness, which identifies triggers and incorporates cognitive therapy
- Anger management group discussions seek to balance emotions and redirect rage and negative energy
- Yoga combines discipline with awareness and an opportunity to reflect.
Answering the Critics
Critics of the 12 Step program alternatively cite spiritual implications and time commitment as reasons why they don’t like it. Unfortunately, they don’t offer alternative approaches to recovery. While it’s certainly true that you don’t have to participate in a 12 Step program to pursue a sober living, its effectiveness is clear. A good example is an emphasis on self-help or program participation.
There’s no pill that cures you of an addiction overnight. Recovery takes hard work, dedication, and a time commitment. Program participants frequently take 30–90 days during which they live at a residential facility. In the same way, the 12 Steps require you to make your recovery and lifelong sobriety a daily priority.
As an aftercare supplement, support meetings that adhere to the model provide invaluable peer-to-peer counseling. Because the atmosphere demands the absence of judgment and the willingness to assist others, mutual accountability works. In a way, these meetings provide positive peer pressure to make healthy choices and avoid known pitfalls. They also offer the much-needed support in cases of relapse.
Because a typical 12 Step program does include group meetings, your support network is always “on.” Remember that one sign of drug abuse is self-imposed isolation from friends, family members, and peer groups. These 12 Steps of recovery provide the exact opposite setting. You avoid going down the road of separation again – even if you start out doing so by accident or habit.
However, even before you enter the aftercare stage, consider the program to help you accept science-based therapies. For most rehab participants, opening up to another person or within a group is not necessarily a natural process. It requires practice and a willingness to surrender limited control of your comfort zone to others. Program participants find that this quickly becomes familiar territory.
Experience the 12 Steps of Recovery Yourself
Are you looking for a way to overcome a substance abuse problem or process addiction? Have you tried different approaches but nothing seemed to work? Do you feel stuck and wish there was some way out of addiction? Experience the difference that the 12 Steps of recovery can make against the backdrop of science-based therapies and relapse prevention.
Healing Springs Ranch will assist clients with addiction recovery with or without a 12 Step approach. Your treatment model will be constructed with your collaboration. We’ll get to know you and identify your motivators for exceptional recovery. Today is the day to call. The number is 866-656-8384.