Most addiction rehabilitation facilities incorporate some type of 12-Step program in their treatment approach, and Fair Oaks Recovery Center is no exception. Whether you choose Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or another mutual aid support group that uses 12-Step tenets, it’s totally within your control to make the most of the philosophies to reinforce your recovery intentions.
Why Are 12-Step Groups So Popular?
Creating a foundation of relapse prevention is a critical part of evidence-based treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD). A major 2013 study indicates that, if utilized properly, 12-Step programs work well as recovery reinforcement tools because they’re “readily available, easily accessible, and no cost resources for individuals with substance use disorders. There’s clear evidence from a variety of sources that early involvement, in the form of meeting attendance and engagement in recovery activities, is associated with better substance use and psychosocial outcomes as well as reduced health care costs.”
Peer support groups like AA, NA, and similar programs are beneficial for several reasons:
- Effectiveness. Although not officially a form of treatment, 12-Step programs have a long history of helping individuals recover from addiction and maintain sobriety. Many people find that following the structured steps and meeting requirements are effective ways to avoid relapse.
- Community and peer support. There’s a shared sense of belonging as members connect with others who understand their struggles, which is a powerful source of emotional support. They also have access to valuable resources they might not find otherwise. Additionally, hearing the stories of other people who’ve successfully overcome addiction can be inspiring and provide hope to those who are struggling.
- Continuous accountability. Members are encouraged to attend meetings regularly, even after they’ve achieved sobriety. The requirement to acknowledge one’s addiction during meetings and commit to abstinence and better health establishes accountability that many find motivating.
- Anonymity. The tradition of anonymity helps individuals to seek help without fear of judgment or stigma as they share their experiences.
- Accessibility. These programs are widely available in numerous locations, both in-person and online. They’re typically free to attend, which further reduces barriers. In fact, these programs have become deeply ingrained in many cultures and societies, which further encourages individuals to seek help within their communities. People of all backgrounds, ages, and demographics can find support within these groups.
- Holistic well-being. Many 12-Step programs focus not only on abstinence but also on improving one’s overall well-being. This includes addressing mental, emotional, and physical health, which can be appealing to individuals looking for a comprehensive approach to recovery.
- A reliable structure. The 12-Step model provides a clear and structured framework for maintaining recovery, which is often a reassuring approach for individuals who may feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty of addiction.
Although the majority of 12-step programs aren’t associated with a particular religion, there’s sometimes a reference to a higher power connection. This may appeal to some people but not others. If you feel that’s something you’d like to avoid, take time to look into other recovery support programs that are more diverse.
5 Tips to Help You Make the Most of the 12 Steps
To increase your chances of personal growth and long-lasting recovery, here are some ideas to use 12-Step programs to your advantage.
- Actively participate. Engage fully in the program by going to meetings frequently—at least once weekly. Join in on discussions and share your experiences and struggles honestly. This fosters a sense of community and accountability, helping you stay committed to your recovery.
- Choose your sponsor wisely. A trusted sponsor—someone who has worked through a 12-Step program and maintained recovery for at least a year—can provide guidance, support, and a source of inspiration. They’re available for one-on-one discussions and can help you work through the process. Here’s what to look for in a 12-Step sponsor.
- Follow the steps one by one. Each step is designed to build upon the previous one. Take the time to thoroughly understand and complete each step before moving on to the next.
- Be honest and open. Self-reflection is a crucial component of a 12-step program. Address the reasons for addiction, its consequences, and the need for positive change. Use the steps as a tool for self-examination and be willing to confront your shortcomings and make amends.
- Find support beyond meetings. Recognize the importance of continuing your recovery efforts outside of the group. This can include reading literature related to your SUD or AUD, practicing the principles of the program in your daily life, and seeking professional help when necessary. The 12-step program should be integrated into your overall lifestyle, not limited to meeting attendance.
Discover the Tools for Wellness at Fair Oaks
The board-certified professionals at our Sacramento drug and alcohol rehabilitation center meet each client where they are in the moment with the utmost compassion and whole-person care. Our evidence-based treatment approach introduces you to therapeutic individual and group counseling, as well as peer support through 12-Step programs to help heal mind, body, and spirit. If it’s time to build a new foundation of health, contact us.