As part of our recovery programmes for addiction, we believe that the use of 12-step therapy is essential when it comes to achieving permanent sobriety. The 12-step principle is used across the world and is the basis for fellowship support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. Most addiction recovery experts believe that 12-step therapy forms an essential part of the recovery process and that not including it can be detrimental to long-term success.
The 12 steps are the foundation of mutual support groups where the idea is that groups of recovering addicts come together to help each other get sober and stay that way. Sharing stories and experiences is at the heart of fellowship support groups and the fact that millions of people around the world are tantamount to the success of such organisations will give you some understanding as to why it is such a crucial element when it comes to addiction recovery.
This type of therapy programme is used as a guide to recovery and are broken down into three stages – the decision steps, the action steps and the maintenance steps. Incorporating 12-step therapy into your recovery programme means working through each of the 12 steps until you reach a point where you are strong enough in your own journey to be able to help others with theirs.
One of the best things about the 12-step approach, is that it treats more than just addiction, it also addresses various life struggles that often contribute to addiction. Some of these struggles include financial problems, abuse, and mental issues. Many 12-step programs are incorporated into a well-rounded treatment program that may include other approaches along with it. The 12-step program may be used in early treatment and then segue into additional treatment approaches.
Meetings provide a secure, readily available and consistent environment to continue to work on your recovery. In particular, these groups provide a support system that can offer stories of hope and reminders of the importance of working a recovery program. After all, in the context of recovery from addiction, support groups have a specific purpose: to allow recovering addicts to work on their recovery and help others do the same. It’s a place where hope and a sense of purpose can begin to grow, and then flourish.
Here are the primary reasons you might find attending meetings beneficial to your sobriety:
Shared experiences, strength and hope. In support groups, there’s a collective strength — a collaboration of like-minded individuals all pursuing recovery and willing to help others who desire a sober life as well. Here you’ll share experiences as well as provide encouragement and support to fellow group members.
Help when you need it. Early recovery in particular can be a perilous time. Cravings and urges can, and often do, surface at any time. When that happens you really need the support of others who’ve been down the same road. In support groups, there are people who will help you reinforce your commitment to sobriety at the same time as they continue to encourage your efforts to withstand and overcome early recovery pitfalls. Even if you’ve been clean and sober for some time, hearing stories of individuals who are new to the program or have relapsed can serve as reminders of the consequences of using again. Remember, addiction is a chronic disease, much like heart disease or diabetes, so you need to take steps to maintain your health even when you’re feeling strong.
A place to listen and learn. Where else can you get access to so many real-life tips and techniques about what works and what doesn’t in sobriety? Granted, not every strategy works for everyone or all the time, but there’s always something to learn by listening to others share how they successfully tackled common issues and setbacks.
No judgment. One thing you shouldn’t find in a meeting is any form of judgment; it’s simply not part of the philosophy. Instead, the focus should be on honesty, fellowship and a sincere willingness to help newcomers and others struggling with sobriety and trying to establish a firm foundation of recovery. If you don’t find this environment at first, however, it’s important to keep trying different meetings until you find the right match for you.
Working through the twelve steps is optional but encouraged. As part of 12-step therapy, you may be encouraged to write down your life history, which is the fourth step and the first of the action steps. Writing a life history means delving deep into your past, and this can be extremely enlightening.
A life history is an essential learning experience and a vital part of the recovery process. You will be encouraged to begin with the day you were born and then to write down as much as you can remember. Your counsellor or therapist can guide you through this process by asking relevant questions that will prompt your memory. You should include everything you can remember, such as where you were born, what your parents’ names are, and what they did for a living when you were young.
As you move through the years, you will be encouraged to document notable events. Your counsellor will probably turn your focus to the first time you remember being exposed to alcohol or drugs and the first time you tried one of these chemicals. You may find that memories surface that you have not thought about for many years, but that can play a key role in why you developed your addiction in the first place.
Your life history is yours and you do not have to share it with anyone else, although you may find it helpful to do so. You might find that there are certain issues that you do not want to write about, but this is a big part of this therapeutic process. The issues that are holding you back are probably those that you need to talk about. Your counsellor or therapist will help you with these issues.
When you read back over your life history, do not be surprised to discover some surprising revelations. You may find that the issues that brought you to this point are clear to see, even though you had never given them much thought previously.
When you have finished your story and reviewed it, you will be encouraged to get rid of it however you see fit. This is designed to help you move forward with your recovery.
There are major benefits to getting involved with your local fellowship support group and continuing working through the twelve-steps when your rehab programme concludes. Aftercare support is an essential part of your comprehensive recovery programme and fellowship support groups can provide this additional support.
At Fenton House, we believe that 12-step therapy is essential when it comes to helping you overcome your addictive behaviours, and we will help and encourage you to get involved with your local support group. As well as helping you to maintain your sobriety going forward, being a member of such groups will give you the opportunity to develop a whole new set of friends that you can relate to. Your local support group will be a place where you can go for support and inspiration in a non-judgemental and compassionate environment.
You will have a place where you can talk to others who know exactly what you have been through and who will understand the issues that are facing you on a day to day basis. In this environment, you will have the ability to be completely honest with yourself and others without fear of being judged or rejected.
If you would like more information about the 12-step therapy programme or any other aspect of our treatment, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.