How to Get Started with a 12 Step Treatment Program
Many residential drug and alcohol treatment programs include 12 step treatment as part of client services. This part of the recovery plan is just as important as participating in “talk therapy” and learning how to live a healthy, chemical-free lifestyle. If you have never been involved with this approach to substance use treatment you may be wondering how to start the process.
Find Out About Step 1
Before you go to a meeting, it’s a good idea to read about Step 1 and think about what it means. For Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), this Step reads: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Admitting to having a problem with addiction can be the most challenging hurdle for someone who is starting a 12 step program. It can be distinctly uncomfortable and make a person feel vulnerable, especially if they are looking at going to their first face-to-face meeting.
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Attend a Meeting
Most people think of 12 step meetings as taking place face to face. Meetings are also held online. These are not as personal as meeting fellow members at a particular location; however, they can help new members feel more comfortable. They are also an option for anyone who would like to attend a meeting and is unable to get to a physical location.
Find a Sponsor
After you have attended some meetings, you will want to find a sponsor. Get to know a few people and ask questions about who is available to be a sponsor. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a person who has a similar background or that you would normally choose to socialize with. The goal is to find a person who will help you work your program; you will need to find someone you can trust in that regard.
Work the Program
A 12-step treatment program can’t help anyone trying to make positive changes to their life unless they are actively taking their steps. Each person is on their own journey and works their program at their own pace, but they do need to be doing things to advance their knowledge of themselves by making progress. Getting stuck and not working the program won’t benefit you if you are serious about your recovery.
12-Step Treatment Program and Aftercare
Upon completing treatment in a residential drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility, a 12-step support program is often part of your aftercare. You can continue attending meetings while living in a sober house or after returning to work or school. Many traditional centers will recommend going to 90 meetings in 90 days and then weekly after that for as long as necessary.
What Are The 12 Steps?
1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8: Made a list of persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.