In addiction recovery, 12-step programs are a common method of treatment. First created by Alcoholics Anonymous, these 12-step programs have proven to help addiction recovery and avoid relapse. The steps are designed to give those going through recovery a tangible way to move forward. There is often a spiritual aspect to these 12-steps, but it isn’t required to compromise your religious beliefs.
What Are the 12-Steps?
The 12-steps can vary based on the program you are taking part in, but they are all similar for the most part. The 12-steps usually used during Alcoholics Anonymous meetings include:
- We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable
- Came to believe that 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 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
As mentioned above, these steps can vary depending on the program you enter. However, some programs use the same steps as Alcoholics Anonymous, including Narcotics Anonymous. At Choice House, we host a 12-step meeting several times a week as they allow those we serve to have constant support from their peers.
What Happens During These Meetings?
Just like the steps themselves, the structure of a 12-step meeting can vary based on the specific program. That being said, most of these meetings will begin with the serenity prayer:
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
You aren’t required to recite the prayer, but many people in the group usually join in.
After this, a “group leader” will likely ask if there is anyone new to the group and if they’d like to introduce themselves. If you would like to introduce yourself and share your story, you can simply raise your hand. If not, then no one is going to force you to share.
When everyone who wants to introduce themselves has had the opportunity to speak, others can share. For example, people can share any progress they’ve made or any struggles they’ve experienced since the last meeting. Depending on the meeting, there may be a topic, or it may be an open discussion.
After the meeting, you are free to leave or introduce yourself to other members. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the people in your group.
How Can I Prepare for My First Meeting?
Preparing for your first meeting depends on what you are looking for. Many people prefer to use their first meeting to get a feel for the group. There is no pressure to share or engage in any way during your first meeting. However, the option to share is always there.
When you get to your first meeting, you might discover that everyone already knows each other and are mingling among themselves. This can make some nervous and feel as if they won’t fit in. However, it is essential to remember that everyone is there for the same reason as you. Your comfort is crucial, so don’t do or say anything you aren’t prepared for.
There are many benefits to sharing your feelings during these meetings. Getting weight off your shoulders and realizing that a group of people want to support you is a healing and freeing experience.
The Benefits of a 12-Step Program
While 12-steps programs aren’t for everyone, they have helped a multitude of people. Why do you think 12-step programs have stood the test of time? This could be for several reasons, including that 12-step programs offer structure to those going through addiction recovery. A structure allows them to focus on the steps instead of their cravings and other issues caused by addiction.
Additionally, 12-step meetings allow people going through addiction recovery to create a healthy support system of peers. Having a sound support system is vital during recovery, and many people find that in their 12-step group members.
A 12-step program also offers you the opportunity to help others in a similar situation. When someone is in desperate need of support or advice, you could be the one to provide that to them.
It is usually easy to find a 12-step program in your area, though you might be nervous about what happens during your first meeting. There is no need to worry as no one is required to share anything they aren’t ready for. 12-step programs offer a supportive group of peers that are also going through addiction recovery. These programs have proven to be successful at helping people move on from their addiction and avoid relapse. At Choice House, we host 12-step meetings multiple times a week, which allows our guests to share their feelings and offer advice to others. We also host outdoor therapy sessions, in-person meetings with professional counselors, and more. At our sober living facility, you will always have a support system. We want you to build life-long friendships that will help facilitate your new, sober life, even after you leave treatment. For all the information you need, contact Choice House at (720) 577-4422.