Even if you’ve never done more than a few seconds of research on rehab or what it takes to beat addiction, it’s more than likely that you’ve at least heard of the “12 steps”. They’re so well known that they’ve reached almost mythical status and crossed over into popular culture. Which is honestly pretty great because it means we’re at a place societally where being open about overcoming addiction is becoming the standard. Normalizing recovery if you will.
That said, just because you’ve heard of the 12 steps, doesn’t necessarily mean you know what they are or what they’re all about.
What Are ‘The 12 Steps?’
The origin story of the 12 steps is Alcoholics Anonymous so they go back over 85 years and have helped millions upon millions stick with recovery for the long haul. While the steps reference alcohol, they can be applied to substance abuse in general and there is a wholly separate organization called Narcotics Anonymous that does just that with the 12 steps.
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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.
You’ll notice that the steps are rooted in faith as that was foundational to the inception of AA but it’s very much possible to get the benefits of the steps without being a religious person.
Major Benefits of A 12 Step Rehab for Men
Support – Sobriety is something we tend to take for granted and for the newly sober, it takes work to maintain. 12 step programs are a bastion of support for those who need it most. Whether you just got out of rehab or have been sober for a decade, when you feel a craving or know you have a difficult event coming up or just need someone to talk to who understands recovery, 12 step groups provide that.
Accountability – In addition to support you get accountability. When you know you’ll be connecting with people regularly who are maintaining their sobriety, it encourages you to maintain yours. On top of that, you’ll have a sponsor, or mentor, who both guides you through recovery and functions to keep you accountable. If you’re in a 12 step rehab program long enough, eventually that could be you helping others…which only reinforces your own recovery and accountability more.
No Cost – Easily accessible and at no cost, it’s tough to be that type of support group. Meetings of AA, NA and similar 12 step programs cost nothing, there’s a suggested donation that is meant to cover the basics of a room rental, snacks, refreshments, etc. but you’re under no obligation to pay if you’re unable to.
They’re Effective – As noted in the peer-reviewed journal Social Work in Public Health, “there is 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”. So, if you go regularly and stay engaged, there is big upside.
Let Valley Recovery Center Help You Get Sober
Aftercare is a critical part of recovery from addiction and 12 step programs play a huge role in helping people stay the course. If you’re curious about whether they’re right for you, reach out to us at Valley Recovery Center and we’d be happy to walk you through it!