What Is the 12-Step Program for Addiction Recovery?

What Is the 12-Step Program for Addiction Recovery?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Addiction is a complex disorder with many layers. In recovery, it can be challenging to address each layer and recreate one’s life. However, it can be done. Recovery should encompass all areas of healing: physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual. When clients address all factors that may be contributing to their addiction, this gives them the ability to lead a fulfilling life of lasting sobriety. A 12-Step program for addiction recovery helps clients do just that. 

At First Steps Recovery, the 12-Step program is an important element of treatment that can be woven into a whole-person approach. A whole-person approach brings together physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing to promote a healthier and happier lifestyle. Creating a fulfilling, prosperous life without the restraints of drugs or alcohol is the goal of treatment at First Steps Recovery.

What Defines a 12-Step Program?

A 12-Step program is a network of self-help groups that support people through their alcohol or drug dependence. Twelve-Step facilitation is an evidence-based form of healing in which a facility actively works to engage clients with 12-Step groups. 

The 12-Step program is an evidence-based practice dating back to 1935 during the Great Depression. In 1935, Bill Wilson was in a drug rehabilitation facility where he found a Higher Power and succeeded in becoming sober.

From there, Wilson created the 12-Step model that combined philosophy and religion. While Wilson’s experience and foundation for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was largely inspired by the Bible, 12-Step programs can incorporate any religion and other non-Christian beliefs.

The Twelve Steps

The AA 12-Step program follows The Twelve Steps, which are:

  • Admitting to one’s powerlessness over the control of the drug/alcohol dependence, and admitting that one’s life is unmanageable due to the disorder(s)
  • Believing a Higher Power can restore one to health and wellness
  • Turning over one’s will and life to the care of the Higher Power
  • Creating a moral inventory of oneself
  • Admitting to the Higher Power, oneself, and another person one’s missteps throughout one’s addiction
  • Allowing the Higher Power to remove all defects of one’s character
  • Asking the Higher Power to remove one’s shortcomings
  • Creating a list of all the people one harmed in any way due to the addiction
  • Making direct amends to the people on this list whenever possible unless it causes more harm
  • Continuing to take personal inventory and admit to wrongs
  • Praying and meditating to strengthen a conscious contact with the Higher Power, but only doing so to recognize its will for oneself and the power to carry out that will
  • Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the 11 previous steps, carrying out the message to other people with addictions, and practicing these principles regularly

Twelve-Step programs also emphasize the importance of community. While individual therapy is important in recovery, so is building a community and sharing experiences with others who are also coping with addiction. Although AA is the most well-known 12-Step group, there are a number of others. Some of these are:

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
  • Overeaters Anonymous (OA)
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
  • Emotions Anonymous (EA)
  • Women For Sobriety

How Does First Steps Recovery Implement the 12-Step Program?

First Steps Recovery enacts a whole-person approach within each client’s plan and works with clients to inspire hope. The core values at the facility are compassion, connections, collaboration, community, and clinical excellence. At First Steps, it is understood that healing the spiritual or inner aspect of a person is a crucial part of addiction recovery.

Many services available at First Steps Recovery encompass this whole-person healing and 12-Step-related approach. One of these services is group therapy, which allows clients to come together in a group to offer mutual hope, guidance, acceptance, and validation. A variety of holistic therapies also promote the 12-step program, including mindfulness therapy and yoga therapy.

Finding Spirituality Through Mindfulness Therapy

Mindfulness therapy at First Steps Recovery is a form of therapy that requires clients to become more aware of numerous aspects of themselves and their surroundings. This meditative therapy incorporates three elements: the intention to be in the moment, attention to all aspects of oneself, and developing a nonjudgmental attitude.

With mindfulness therapy, clients learn how to maintain awareness of their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and surroundings. Through this awareness, clients come to better identify, address, and restructure their negative thoughts and behaviors. As a client becomes more attuned to their bodies and minds, cravings are often reduced or eliminated. Mindfulness is a continuous process of learning about oneself and understanding one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to create a more positive outcome.

Engaging in Spirituality Through Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy takes this meditative approach a step further by adding a physical element. In yoga therapy, clients become peaceful and mindful while holding poses that allow stuck energy to flow. Not only do the physical poses feel good, but they help build positive mental qualities like calm, resilience, and strength.

Through this form of movement, clients strengthen the spiritual connection within themselves and with the world around them. Yoga can have the effect of building a spiritual foundation for life. In this way, yoga has similarities to 12-Step programs and supports their aims.

Goals, Benefits, and Outcomes From Being Part of the 12-Step Program

Being a part of a 12-Step program provides clients with mutual support, hope, and motivation. Others involved in 12-Step programs offer guidance and compassion to others as they navigate their recovery journeys. Often clients feel isolated and alone in recovery, and this does not have to be the case. Through a 12-Step program, clients can build a sense of belonging to a healthy, supportive community.

Clients also gain a new level of maturity and spiritual growth through their participation in a 12-step program. As clients learn to provide support to others coping with addiction, their self-centeredness diminishes. Twelve-Step programs also offer a pathway to self-care and self-help for clients who are seeking a sense of empowerment.

First Steps Recovery believes in a whole-person approach and offers guidance through a 12-Step program. In a 12-Step program, clients rebuild and strengthen their spiritual connection within themselves and with the world around them (or a Higher Power). While this program surfaced as a very Biblically-based structure, 12-Step programs serve clients of all different religious and spiritual backgrounds. Recovery is about healing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies of the client. Through services like group therapy, mindfulness, and yoga therapy, First Steps Recovery helps clients build that community and deeper connection to self. To learn more about 12-Step programs and services at First Steps Recovery, please call us at (844) 489-0836.

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