It’s been 84 years since Bill Wilson sat down and had a discussion about alcoholism with another man who was also suffering. There’s no way either man could have known the first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous would lead to a worldwide phenomenon. Today, Alcoholics Anonymous and dozens of other 12-Step programs can count a cumulative membership of tens of millions of people. The impact Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have had on addiction treatment is immeasurable.
What is a 12-Step Program?
We can stipulate that most 12-Step recovery programs are similar in their goals and formats. However, the following discussion will center on the two aforementioned substance abuse programs, being AA and NA.
A 12-Step program is a fellowship of men and women who have one common goal, to stop using drugs and/or alcohol. That’s the only requirement for membership. There are no dues, though members may choose to make donations to pay for meeting rooms, literature, and refreshments.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of 12-Step meetings being held in rooms all over the world. In most larger communities, there is at least one meeting being held in close proximity on a nightly basis. There’s an international governing body and emergency hotlines are available in most regions.
Meeting population can range from five members to hundreds of members. However, the rule of thumb is any time two or more people come together to talk about recovery, it’s a meeting.
Core Values and the 12 Steps
Of all the aftercare programs in TX, 12-Step programs register as the most popular options. At the core of each program’s values is an emphasis on one addiction sufferer helping another. There’s also an expectation that senior members will always be available to help new members. New members could include people who are new to recovery as well as people who are still using. Members will not turn away anyone who wants to fight their addiction as long as they can follow some basic rules.
As recovery progresses, each member will want to eventually work the “12 Steps of Recovery.” The 12 steps serve as a stairway to lasting recovery and a better life. To work the 12 Steps, it’s preferable that a newer member enlist the services of a senior member to help them. In a 12-Step recovery program, members refer to the “guide” as a sponsor. In almost all cases, a sponsor must have completed the 12 Steps at least once before attempting to guide others.
To be clear, the 12 Steps of recovery serve as the foundation for the 12-Step program. In some areas, there are 12-Step meetings that allow members to review or work the steps together. The goal of the 12 Steps is to prompt members to do the following:
- Take responsibility for their actions and bad deeds
- Admit their transgressions to another person
- Make amends wherever and whenever possible without harming others
- Continue to take a personal inventory of oneself
- Turn one’s life over to a higher power of their own understanding
In reference to the last item, the 12 Steps do not have a basis in religion. A “higher power” refers to anyone or anything a person is willing to trust and believe in.
The Right Step – A Gateway to the 12 Steps
From our Texas rehab locations, we fully support the concepts behind AA and NA. Our goal is to use modern addiction treatment methodologies to guide people into recovery. After treatment, we encourage all exiting clients to participate in 12-Step meetings as often as possible. Our treatment services include:
- Alcohol & drug detox
- Inpatient drug rehab
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Outpatient treatment
- Chronic relapse track
Remember, when you walk out the door of rehab, you don’t have to navigate recovery alone. There will be plenty of resources to help you along the way, including 12-Step programs. At The Right Step, we would like the chance to help you address your addiction and start recovery. If you are ready to start, you can call us at 713.528.3709.