The path to recovery for an addict is one that has many challenges; for the individuals and those close to them. However, it is possible to kick the addiction and lead a healthy lifestyle. It requires a personal conviction to make the situation better.
No one can underrate the importance of the 12-step fellowship when it comes to helping individuals achieve sobriety. The basis of the program is to give recovering addicts certain steps by which they should live by.
Initially, its application was mainly for those with alcohol addiction. Now, its use has extended to other forms of addiction including overeating, drug addiction, obsessive gambling among others.
The experts also encourage family members to attend the sessions, because it helps to break the co-dependence that addicts and those close to them have.
What are the 12 steps
The 12 steps are basically guidelines that a recovering addict will use in order to achieve sobriety. It has been very successful, and even those who have completed the program continue to attend so as to maintain a sober state.
The 12 step program has its basis on religion and God, but people of different beliefs have found an effective way of overcoming addiction using it. A summary of the 12 steps are:-
- Admission – admitting that you are powerless over the addiction
- Recognition – Recognising end believing that a higher power can help you
- Submission – submitting to the higher power
- Understanding – Making a fearless moral inventory of ourselves
- Confession – admitting to God, ourselves and others the exact nature of our wrongs
- Readiness – being ready to have God remove all the defects of character
- Humility – humbly asking God to remove the shortcomings
- Reparation – being willing to make amends with any person you have wronged
- Apology – making amends with any person you have wronged but only if it will not injure you or them
- Integrity – continuously taking personal inventory and admitting when you are wrong
- Meditation – improve conscious contact with God as you understand him through prayer and meditation
- Spiritual Awakening – having a spiritual awakening by following the steps above
Benefits of the 12 Steps to an addict
The reassurance that you’re not alone
The recovery process can be lonely especially if the people around you do not understand what you’re going through. By interacting with people in a similar situation, you get a sense of belonging.
Group members understand what it is like to live as an addict, and will not judge you in any way. It also makes it easy for you to share new challenges because you are likely to get good advice from people who have been in that situation.
The fellowship is one of the key aspects of the 12-step program. Participants encourage each other to succeed in fighting the Demons of addiction. you have access to additional support by getting a sponsor, someone who will take you through the entire process by availing themselves to you anytime you need them.
Taking an honest look at yourself is a great tool for achieving sobriety. By admitting that you have shortcomings, and may be making the wrong choices in life, it becomes easier for you to change. Introspection will also give you a chance to see how you treat the people who are close to you. You can then start to rebuild any relationships you may have destroyed during the days of addiction.
Does the program work
Research around the 12-step program indicates that it can be very effective for those who are willing to go through the process. However, anyone who finds themselves in the program due to family Intervention, or through the justice system may not respond well to it. Just like any other drug treatment program, the rate of relapse in those who are not ready to start the journey of recovery is very high.
Interesting things to note from the research above show that:-
- Those who have less religious inclinations tend to benefit more from the program
- Older adults and women benefit more from the group sessions
- Regular attendance to the program is important for long-term recovery
Shortcomings of the program
While the success of the program is clear, there are however some people who disagree with it. The program is time-consuming and some people are not comfortable in groups. There is a heavy emphasis on religion which some people may not agree with.
Others believe that the program encourages the transfer of dependence from family members, to other people in the group including the sponsor.
The 12-step program will provide a solution for one who is on the path to recovery. there is no use of medication and it, therefore, requires discipline and personal motivation to change.
Family members can also benefit by taking part in the programs because it gives them valuable coping skills of how to live with a recovering addict.