There are a number of ways to treat addiction, and the 12 step program remains one of the mainstays of many rehab centers.
This non-denominational program was started in 1935 by two alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, as a way to curb their own drinking. They had the idea that staying sober “one day at a time” and helping others was the best way to stay sober.
Over the next five years, they developed their non-denominational program based on guidelines for living right. These guidelines include taking a personal inventory of strengths and shortcomings, making restitutions for past hurts (wherever possible), and helping others.
There are a number of reasons why a 12 step program can help people with substance abuse issues get (and stay) sober.
How A 12 Step Program Can Help Participants Achieve Sobriety
The Program Supports A Lifestyle Change
Since alcoholism is a disease which affects a person physically, emotionally and spiritually, achieving sobriety is going to have to involve making a complete lifestyle change. Working the steps of a program supports making this type of change, which is more than simply making a vow to stop using chemicals or to comply with the terms of a court order.
Participants Get Support Of Other Members
Attending meetings allows participants to meet people who are going through a similar experience. If an addict feels isolated in his or her disease, connecting with other people in a similar situation makes it easier to get help and support from other members.
The Atmosphere Is Non-Judgmental
A person with a substance abuse problem has no doubt had several experiences with family members and friends criticizing them or their drug of choice. They have become used to bottling up their emotions and not sharing their true thoughts. At a 12 step meeting, the atmosphere is welcoming and non-judgmental. No one will judge a new member who shares their story of addiction because it’s nothing the members have not done themselves or heard before. They get it because they are addicts themselves.
The Program Is Proof That Recovery Is Possible
12 step meetings are open to people in all stages of recovery, from those who have just started their journey, to people who have been clean and sober for months or years. Some people in the program have left the program, relapsed and come back. All of them have something to contribute through their experiences.
At Maryland Recovery, we offer 12 step recovery programs as part of our treatment.
Contact us now to find out more about our programs and how we can help you attain a lasting recovery!
Dr. Bhalavat is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, and provides inpatient evaluation and consultation services at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Maryland Recovery Partners, and Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Bhalavat’s background includes treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and dementia.