12 Steps and the True Value of Recovery Programs

Helping those with addiction and their loved ones.

Ever since Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) published the them in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism in 1939, the 12 Steps have become a critical component of most treatment and recovery programs for all types of addiction including alcoholism, drug addiction, and other compulsive behaviors. Why have 12 Step programs become so prevalent? Mainly, because 12 Step recovery programs work for the vast majority of people. While the Twelve Steps have been modified by several groups to apply more directly to their specific issues, the basics of each step have remained the same. They provide a roadmap to recovery during a time in an addict’s life when making sense out of chaos seems nearly impossible.

While it is easy to say the value of 12 Step Recovery Programs is their clarity, there is a lot that happens during the Steps and the recovery process that isn’t. The world of addiction is anything but normal. Morality, perception, personality, and behavior are all turned upside down by a person’s addiction. People with addictions hurt themselves, the people they love, and even innocent bystanders. Once someone admits they have a problem, fixing those mistakes, knowing who you are, and turning one’s world right side up again can seem like a mammoth task. The Steps transform something enormous and overwhelming into something incremental and manageable. The process of treating addiction becomes a framework that propels one towards sobriety rather than an obstacle that sends one back to into addiction.

While the primary value of a 12 Step Recovery Program is its ability to guide an a person through substance abuse treatment and recovery, it can help friends and family better understand and recognize addiction. This is critical because a successful recovery requires a strong support system that includes loved ones. The more people understand addiction and its treatment, the better they can help their loved ones begin a brighter future. Twelve Step Recovery Programs at general family support meetings not only assist in recovery by educating loved ones, but provide an environment in which they themselves can heal.

The value of a 12 step recovery program is that it provides everyone with a process to recognize, understand, recover, and move forward from addiction, whether someone has an addiction or is the addicted’s loved one. The Steps make the unfathomable gradually understandable, the hurtful eventually forgivable, and the desperate into the hopeful. Twelve Step recovery programs have the potential to transform us all and create a happier and healthier world that refuses to be defeated by addiction.

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