Why do so many addicts and alcohoics in the recovery program swear by the 12 steps? It has been proven that the 12 Steps, as adopted from the Alcoholics Anonymous program, work by helping individuals overcome denial, admit their powerlessness, make amends to those they’ve hurt and develop a connection with a higher power.
After surrendering in Step 1, the dissolving of the individual’s negative behavior is accomplished by systematically identifying and weakening defects of character through persistent efforts to examine one’s behavioral patterns. It is followed by strengthening ones concious contact with a higher power and making amends to those they’ve harmed, including one’s self. The process is completed by expressing one’s experience, strength and hope with others in the program by sharing in meetings and every day life and by repeating the process.
Meetings are an integral part of any 12 step program, regardless of the affiliation to any specific recovery fellowship or group. Seeing the struggles of others in recovery can also be eye-opening. If you’re feeling strong and wondering whether you could start using recreationally after a certain amount of time, you can see how that kind of thinking has led others to relapse.
When drug cravings and temptations arise, the last thing people in recovery need is to be alone. Even a quick phone call or word of encouragement from someone who has been there can make the difference between relapse and one more day of sobriety. The people you meet may even have a few ideas for handling tough situations that you hadn’t considered.
At 12-Step meetings, you won’t feel judged, criticized or ashamed, and you may even begin to feel “normal” again. In a room full of recovering addicts, chances are someone has been where you’ve been before.
Twelve-Step meetings are also a place where complete honesty is welcomed and even expected. If you ever feel unsafe, either emotionally or physically, 12-Step meetings can be a refuge. After a meeting or talking with a sponsor, the craving to use may subside and you may be ready to re-commit to your recovery.