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Understanding the 12-Step Program

group of people sit around and are talking and listening and asking what is the 12 step program

If you have wondered, “What is the 12-step program?” it is essential to understand that this type of treatment focuses on acceptance and surrender. The 12-step program model was founded initially by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s as a way for members to share their experiences with alcoholism and help one another stay sober. It has since been adopted by many other addiction support groups, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA).

Understanding 12-step programs is the first step to making good use of them in your recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Learning about the different kinds of meetings, what to expect at those meetings, and what is expected of you can help you better understand 12-step programs and how they can help you.

The 12-step philosophy of abstinence is hugely important to the theoretical foundation of Michael’s House. A holistic approach that incorporates many therapeutic options to help individuals find their own balance and unique, authentic selves in drug and alcohol rehab. Contact us at 760.548.4032 today for more information about our 12-step rehab program.

How the 12-Step Program Works

Understanding what the 12-step program is and how it works is crucial to successful recovery.

Open Meetings and Closed Meetings

One of the protective features of 12-step programs is that it is anonymous. Everything said in a meeting is meant to be kept private to protect the person who shares their personal information. In some cases, though, people who don’t have an addiction but want to attend a 12-step meeting. They may be a student interested in the subject of recovery, a family member, a therapist, or anyone interested in finding out more about 12-step programs.

To protect the integrity of the meeting, some are labeled as “open meetings” to allow for the inclusion of people who don’t understand and require the anonymity that comes with 12 steps. “Closed meetings” are only for people with addiction so that participants can more safely share what they need to talk about with anonymity.

Discussion Meetings and Speaker Meetings

There are two structures to 12-step program meetings: discussion and speaker meetings.

Speaker meetings are divided into two parts. The first part is handed over to a speaker who has been chosen ahead of time, someone who has had time to prepare to speak and share their experience with drugs and alcohol and treatment. Many start with how they started misusing substances, talk about their worst experiences during addiction and then discuss the drug treatment they underwent to become substance-free. Afterward, the speaker generally picks a topic of discussion, and participants are free to raise their hands and share.

The moderator of the meeting generally runs discussion meetings. A topic is chosen, and the floor is open for participants to share their views, experiences, and advice with others.

What Is Expected of You

If you are part of a 12-step program, you will be expected, first and foremost, to exercise discretion. You will hear highly personal confessions called “shares” during each meeting, and you are expected to keep what you hear inside “the rooms” and refrain from discussing it with anyone.

You are also expected to participate. Though you are given plenty of room to do so at your own pace, at some point, you will take on a sponsor, work the steps and eventually take on “sponsees” as you help others to work the steps.

You are also expected to lend a helping hand. Whether that means bringing snacks to the next meeting or volunteering to put away the folding chairs when the meeting is over, service is a big part of the 12-step program.

Making Connections

Participants do not need to find and connect with a sponsor. Similarly, they’re not required to work as a sponsor for someone new to recovery. However, working in a close relationship with someone else could have a meaningful impact on a person’s addiction.

For example, a sponsor could provide invaluable help and support when the urge to use drugs begins to strike, preventing a relapse from taking place. Working as a sponsor could also remind people of the struggles they’ve overcome in the fight against addiction, which might also help prevent a backslide to bad behavior.

In addition to working as a sponsor, people in recovery might give back by:

  • Volunteering to work in meetings held in prisons
  • Sharing their story of recovery in a meeting
  • Volunteering in a needle-exchange program in the community
  • Participating in community cleanup projects

12-step programs offer an effective way to help those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. It is a journey from darkness to light, and by participating in these program meetings, individuals will be able to start the recovery process.

Understanding the 12-Steps of a 12-Step Program

The 12 steps in a 12-step program are designed to be a guideline for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. Understanding these steps can play a vital role in the recovery process:

  1. Admitting powerlessness over the addiction
  2. Believing that a power greater than oneself can restore sanity
  3. Deciding to turn will and life over to the care of God as you understand Him
  4. Making a fearless moral inventory of oneself
  5. Admitting to God, oneself, and another human being the exact nature of wrongs
  6. Being entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove shortcomings
  8. Make a list of all persons you have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all
  9. Making direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  10. Continuing to take personal inventory and, when you’re wrong, promptly admitting it
  11. Seeking through prayer and meditation to improve conscious contact with God as you understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for you and the power to carry that out
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, you try to carry this message to people with addictions and practice these principles in all your affairs

Each step is a stepping-stone to recovery, and understanding them can be the key to confronting and overcoming addiction.

Contact Michael’s House to Learn More About Our 12-Step Program

If you are still wondering, “What is the 12-step program?” Michael’s House is here to assist you with the recovery process. We are committed to providing our patients care and helping them on their journey toward sobriety. To learn more about our 12-step program, call us at 760.548.4032 or message us on our online form.

We look forward to assisting you in your recovery journey.