The phrase 12 steps is significantly used in any conversation regarding addiction treatment and recovery from drugs and alcohol abuse. Because they are only mentioned in the lexicon to rehabilitation and treatment, there is often mistaken belief and mystery surrounding the 12 steps program, what usually happens in them, their goals, and the way they may help with recovery. Although privacy and confidentiality are critical to any support group’s proper functioning, there shouldn’t be any secretiveness regarding their roles or activities. Just in case you might have ever pondered what precisely these 12 steps groups do, what they are, their beliefs, or how they help addicts, then follow us on this reading adventure.
Constituents of 12 Steps Support Groups
As one of the world’s leading chronic diseases of addiction, it affects more than just the addicts themselves, but also those who are in the same circle as them. Even though addiction is among humanity’s most universal diseases, different people are affected by it in various ways. Because of this, several support groups and treatment programs are available to addicts today. One of those support groups is 12 steps groups, also referred to as 12 steps programs.
It was created for those addicted to drugs or alcohol to learn how to cope with their newfound sobriety in such a way as to give direction, structure, and support as they made various life-changing decisions during their sobriety. The 12 steps program has proven effective for many addicts, working better than other approaches for different people.
In general, the purpose of a support group is to help addicts realize they can’t do it alone, so they seek support from the power above. As part of the 12 steps program, participants will assess their mistakes in their lives due to their addiction and attempt to amend them. By learning how to live life with fresh perspective on sobriety and about helping others recover, they are better prepared for their future.
There are several goals to 12 steps programs. It is very important to make sure individuals are committed to making an honest and sincere account of themselves. Based on a design, the 12 steps serve like a framework for personal change. Having a problem with addiction prevents a person from making necessary life changes. By talking to others who have the same experiences and shared same experiences on their life as you, one way to change this narrative takes place. Therefore, the great emphasis here is placed on the acceptance of personal shortcomings, the need to seek the wisdom paramount or a greater sense of inner wisdom, the need to take ownership, and examine our past wrongdoings. According to Psychology Today, the 12 Steps program provides shelter for addicts who are adjusting to a new lifestyle. They have replaced their old, destructive behaviors with new, healthier ones in this new lifestyle by quitting drugs and addictive behaviors.
How Do 12 Steps Support Groups Work?
The state of one blinded by addiction is opposite from the state of one who is indifferent to or unaware of the consequence of their substance abuse or compulsion support group. The 12 steps awareness factor is intended to make you aware of your actions’ effect on other people – both positive and negative.
If you have hurt others through your bad habits, you may be asked to assess yourself and make amends for what you’ve done, mainly by narrating the 12 steps. The process of discovering your broken emotions and behavior patterns requires that you identify how you behaved and why you were doing it wrong by attending a support group exercise. This is how we can turn things around. How come you keep making the same mistakes? And what were you thinking when you were doing the wrong things? How do you know that you’ve been making the mistakes over and over again? The addict may need to understand, acknowledge and confront childhood abuse as the reason for his violence toward himself and others.
Once the inventory has been taken, the next step is coming to terms with either a feeling of guilt or, perhaps, an acceptance of responsibility. The more you admit your wrongs, the more self-esteem you will develop, and the more you will heal 12 steps. Self-esteem can be repaired by admitting when you have offended someone, even if you haven’t yet gone to therapy. You may not see immediate results from stopping your addiction, but this is the cornerstone of attaining sobriety.
At the same time, the concept of empathy (a sense of belonging to others) is established in 12 steps during this process. Being in touch with one’s shortcomings teaches a person valuable lessons of humility and compassion, none of which are present in cases of addiction.
As a result, the inability to have a meaningful conversation with a family member, a friend, or your significant other can lead to a breakdown in relationships, work, or even family life. Just because you cannot communicate with them or perhaps even make them feel better than they used to. 12 steps programmes instill awareness that everything you do impact other people.
The 12 steps program encourages you to take inventory basically of who you are and the many things you have done. They also advise on how you can makeup If you have harmed people in the past due to your habits. The idea of the 12 steps program is a “searching and fearless” inventory, and there is a purpose for that because you will have to identify habits of conflicting emotions and destructive behaviors in your life. Simply, what have you been doing wrong? What mistakes have you been making? And why did you tend towards wrong? Was there a reason for consistently making mistakes? For instance, this might mean acknowledging and facing childhood abuse for what it is and as the reason behind an addict’s abusive attitude towards others and his abusive behavior toward him or herself.
After this inventory comes one of the most difficult parts of the 12 Steps program – owning up to wrongdoing. This is to declare the truth to the victims and God, which can help your self-esteem; this is imperative if you fall into the downward spiral that often leads to the therapy support group. You must also realize that this is not an easy step of the program. Still, it is the cornerstone of settling accounts and a return to order from your previous life of addiction and wiping the slate clean, after which you can become sober, which makes the 12 steps program vital.
This phase would also reinforce the idea of empathy for other people. Addicts are now no longer contained in the isolation of their dependency or violent behavior; admitting to one’s wrongdoings, the ones that harmed others, and the relationships they ruined teaches a healthier lifestyle by being humble and compassionate 12 groups.
What Does the Term ‘higher Power’ Refer to?
The term ‘Higher Power’ can mean a spirit or a being (such as God, a therapist, etc.) with great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people.
An uncommon knowledge about the 12 Steps guidance groups is, they are on the footing of entirely spiritual surrender notion. Suppose it is not a supreme being, then the ego of the subconscious as well as the group’s power. This notion is based on Carl Jung’s ideas, which inspired Bill W. Alcoholics Anonymous. Through categorizing the use of the 12 Steps program in recovery, Psych Central relates that Jung told Wilson that healing must be spiritual to overcome the overwhelming power of alcohol addiction. Several 12 Steps programs overt references and the presence of God:
- It became apparent that a force higher than ourselves would handle our problem.
- As understood by us, our will and lives were entrusted to God.
- Prayers were only meant to learn God’s will and bring strength to carry it out through knowledge of His will.
For instance, the 12 Steps of AA Agnostica fit their non-religious philosophy better, replacing prayer with reflection and deity with a universal notion of morality and personal power.
Various Other Variations
People often attribute the 12 steps forums for promoting long-term sobriety because these groups have played a major role in helping thousands of people secure sobriety. Despite that, it is unreasonable to expect that everyone will essentially benefit from a 12 Step program support group. Whenever you don’t achieve results from one 12-steps program, consider incorporating one of the methods from the 12 Steps that you would learn from reading that book into your continuing care plan.
As with Alcoholics Anonymous, other recovery groups rooted in 12 Steps replace every alcohol mention with the honorable mention of drugs or alcohol. “Addiction” is an appropriate term for Narcotics Anonymous, “cocaine and any other psychedelic substances” for Cocaine Anonymous.
Other addictions that go beyond drug abuse include gamblers and overeaters anonymous. Gamblers Anonymous uses appropriate terms (“gambling,” “compulsive gamblers,” etc.).
Why 12 Steps Support Groups?
Several phases of addiction are broken down within the 12 steps system. In other words, accepting that you can’t overcome the addiction on your own creates trust in a higher power or the group. Rehab is an excellent way to educate a person about the 12 steps, in addition to providing them with support groups and preserving their self-esteem. Family, friends, and sometimes even fellow addicts can be lonely when faced with addiction. With help from others who have been in their shoes, it’s much easier to resist the temptation to use again than trying to do it on one’s own. Therefore, when addicts admit that they cannot handle the problem independently, it’s a way to get them to accept the available help, usually the 12 steps program, rather than risk trying to handle it on their own.
The second step after acceptance is surrender. The former addict surrenders all control to self-awareness or higher power, filling the void previously filled with substance and exhilarating behaviors. Usually, the first active step of 12 steps recovery involves accepting that one cannot solve your problems on their own and turn them over to someone else (a therapist, sponsor, etc.). Confidence is built when you give up control; you are not putting faith in yourself.
The 12 Steps Program Also Encourages Awareness:
- Having an awareness of oneself (knowing one’s shortcomings and using them to improve oneself).
- Ensure support is offered to members of the group or by a therapist or sponsor.
- Understanding the addictions and compulsive behaviors that lead to the damage of one’s health.
- Knowledge of a more constructive way to act, live and think.
The above could indicate that you are aware of the influences that are declining invitations to do drugs, drink, and smoke can have on you soberly or understand how people and places now present unwanted temptations.
There is a significant contrast with the blindness of an addiction, where you may be completely unaware of the consequences and dangers of your addiction and compulsive behavior, in contrast to your’ nonsense. The awareness that you have of what you are doing – positive and negative – affects other people. This realization is one of the most important factors regarding 12 Steps recovery.
In this program, you’ll take inventory of what you do to hurt people and how you can make up for the damage you’ve caused. You’ll be dealing with emotions and patterns of bad behavior that are ingrained in your life as a consequence of 12 Steps thinking. How did you get into this situation in the first place? What are the mistakes you keep making that prevent you from making progress? And why did you do those things that you consider to be wrong? What are you going to do about those mistakes you keep making? An addict might find it helpful to recognize, acknowledge, and confront childhood abuse as the cause of his abusive behavior toward others and himself.
Taking this self-assessment is one of the most challenging parts of the 12 Step program when confessing faults to oneself. No matter whether you believe in God, confessing what you’ve done wrong to others – particularly to those you’ve wronged – helps you repair your self-esteem. Being honest with others can help repair self-esteem, particularly after hitting rock bottom. The first step of the 12 steps program is by no means the easiest or quickest to accomplish; on the contrary, you must settle up all your old accounts with the past, wipe the slate clean and start living a sober life.
In addition to this step, you will encounter the idea of empathizing with others (or perhaps it will be reinforced) by this step in the 12 steps program. They are humble and compassionate after making mistakes and hurting people in the past. They teach addicts how to handle their addictive behavior in the future and enables them to live a clean and healthy life.
What Types of 12 Steps Programs are there?
In my experience, you will probably be able to find in the 12 steps program two or three groups dedicated to every kind of addictive behavior. Alcoholism, for instance; Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the apparent leader in the pack. You’d get more if you search Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) & Adult Children in Alcoholics (ACOA)!
Aside from the alcoholic addictions of each individual, there is also substance abuse which the12 steps groups widely address, like Marijuana Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, etc. There are also groups like Alateen/Al-Anon and co-addiction family groups such as Co-Anon and Nar-Anon made up of members of the addicts’ families and friends who are adamant about seeking treatment. Those who struggle with gambling tendencies can overcome them through 12 steps group therapy and treatment centers. Gamblers Anonymous belongs to the largest and most substantial affliction recovery organization; Online Gamblers unidentified serves the digital gambling movement.
12 steps are used to treat many psychiatric illnesses — depression, anxiety, nervousness, eating disorders, etc. And much more. Various 12-steps programs have been developed to treat addictions and behavioral disorders.
Many people with addiction issues or who love someone with an addiction problem feel like they’re alone. Many people who are unaware of the challenges they face cannot fully appreciate how we feel or the difficulty it can cause us physically and mentally. The 12 steps programs have been, for many, the only absolute comfort and feeling of unity that they can find at the beginning of their recovery process. There are so many people attending 12 steps meetings, which makes them so great.
Even though these different 12 steps support groups aim to help members recover from things beyond addiction, they remain effective mainly because of the bond between several individuals who share their story, trials and tests with the common goal of discovering and developing a new way of life.
There are more than 54 varieties of 12 steps programs, for almost every conceivable form of addiction and behavioral disorder.
Are 12 Steps Support Groups Helpful To You?
12 steps programs may cause some opposition because of their admissions of their powerlessness, their dogmatic beliefs, etc.; there is no doubt that they have done a great deal of the best for many people seeking to change their lives.
Following PsychCentral’s report on the study conducted by the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden and the Medical Research Institute of America at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Three hundred young adults received 12 steps assistance from Psych Central. Such groups provide “accessible, cost-effective, and local” recovery resources. It has been shown that participants in support groups and other treatment programs more likely to recover from addiction.”The Butler Research Center
To undertake the first step to recovery and sobriety is a huge step and there are many ways in which you can proceed, but you do not have to do it alone. Recognizing and accepting an addiction problem is the first step to getting sober. We can give you more information by contacting us on our toll free number 615-490-9376 on what you need, what help to get, and why 12 steps support groups.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.