-aA majority of rehab centers and sober living homes across the nation use 12-step programs combined with science-backed treatment. Individuals who complete treatment will usually continue participation in meetings due to the 12 steps making them accountable for staying sober.
The Purpose of the 12 Steps
Through the 12 steps program, members will learn how to cope with addiction along with how to avoid triggers and live a sober lifestyle. Support group members will admit their volubility over addiction while examining past mistakes and making amends with those they may have wronged. Each meeting, members will share support and educate each other in different ways to apply the 12-step principles into their everyday lifestyle.
Twelve-step programs are group settings that offer support for individuals who are battling destructive behaviors like substance use disorders. Group meetings are always available and easily accessible. They consist of all genders who share similar hope, experiences, and strength.
12-step programs are used by millions of people around the world to help encourage the group members in adhering to a set of guiding principles referred to as the 12 steps. Following the steps in order has helped millions of individuals in achieving and maintaining sobriety.
These programs also help individuals abstinence from behavioral problems like eating disorders, gambling addiction. The bonds that are formed and lessons learned during group therapy meetings can last a lifetime.
12-step meetings have been used for decades by countless individuals to help them recover from substance abuse issues. In most instances, members will overcome their challenges and get back to being a happy, healthy, productive member of the community.
12-Step Support Groups
Support groups for individuals with addiction will allow them to share their personal experiences with peers. So support groups will benefit anybody suffering from substance addiction. Support groups can also help addicts with co-occurring mental conditions like depression.
Attending 12-step support groups has many benefits which include:
- Meeting people on the same path of sobriety is you.
- Learning new skills to help conquer cravings
- The ability to get support during stressful and emotional times
- Having peers hold you accountable.
- Knowing that you are not alone
There are also multiple promising support groups for substance addiction, which include SMART, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. To know what to expect from a support group will help when choosing the best group for you. The most important thing to know about selecting a group is confirming it is constructive and encouraging to the members.
A majority of addicts have become sober with the assistance of addiction support groups. However, support groups are only a portion of substance addiction treatment. Support group sessions as well as a thorough addiction treatment plan will significantly increase a patient’s chances of success.
Support groups that are based on the 12 steps had started with Alcoholics Anonymous. As the name implies, these groups are committed to maintaining the anomaly of other members. This is to help encourage individuals to seek help and be comfortable with the thought that their privacy is preserved.
The 12-steps are implemented as a part of treatment and the majority of inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers. The 12 steps are a list of tasks to be completed that will help addicts face or addiction head-on and allow them to maintain sobriety. Following in the path of Alcoholics Anonymous, another group was formed known as Narcotics Anonymous, which also began creating 12-step groups for drug addicts rather than alcohol.
Some other 12-step group therapy sessions include:
- Marijuana anonymous
- Cocaine anonymous
- Pills anonymous
- Crystal meth anonymous
- Heroin anonymous
All 12-step groups were built to be self-supporting and lead by peers. 12-step groups also provide meetings that friends and family can attend with their loved group members.
How 12-Step Programs Operate
12-step programs were made to provide a safe, secure, and supportive environment where members are able to talk about their substance use issues with peers in similar situations. During these group meetings, friendships are produced, knowledge is imparted, and sobriety will be preserved.
How Are 12-Step Meetings Structured?
12-step meetings are available daily, with many members attend meetings multiple times per week in the early stages of recovery. Group meetings are usually not run by addiction counselors. Instead, they’re led by members of the recovery group. Meetings are usually free to the public, but all participants must remain anonymous.
During meetings, members introduce themselves to the group only on a first-name basis. From there, share their story, including any recent conflicts or uplifting experiences. Meditating, Reading 12-step literature, and reciting prayers also are a part of a support group meeting.
During the meeting, crosstalk is prohibited. Members are not permitted to advise each other. All meetings are confidential, and group members are asked not to speak about another member’s story with any outsiders.
The Role of Sponsors in Recovery Meetings
A sponsor is someone who assists in guiding an individual who is going through their 12 Steps. Sponsors aren’t medical professionals, but a majority of them are in addiction recovery. They will share their knowledge and advice with other addicts who are still learning how to cope with the challenges of sobriety after quitting all substances.
A sponsor’s mission is to help other members stay sober. They will help guide the newcomers through their 12 Steps and give encouragement to attend group meetings. Sponsors also assist members in better understanding their previous mistakes without imposing their personal views on the individuals they support.
Because addicts are in a vulnerable frame of mind in the beginning stages of recovery, it is vital that members do not get into a romantic relationship with their sponsors.
The Effectiveness of 12-Step Programs
Multiple organizations that are associated with addiction support have recognized 12 step programs as a form of evidence-based treatment. Research has also shown that these programs can help individuals abstain from alcohol or drugs.
Individuals who do participate in 12-step programs will generally reduce their substance intake when compared to those who have not used self-help groups. A majority of psychologist has stated that treating individuals with similar problems in a group setting will be the most effective form of addiction treatment.
Studies have shown that early involvement of 12-step programs could help result in reduced substance abuse. However, it should be noted that attendance in these support groups remains low and inconsistent for the majority of new members.
Multiple government programs also use 12-step programs in combination with addiction recovery to help individuals overcome their addiction. Many participants are given a court order treatment to attend 12-step meetings throughout their rehabilitation.
Alternatives to 12-Step Groups
There are many addiction support groups available that will be based in a different direction than the 12-step model. Some individuals will choose these alternatives because they’re afraid to admit they are powerless to addiction, which is the first of the 12 steps. Some feel they want a more secular support group, while others think they want a more religiously focused support group.
There is also an exponential amount of online message boards in forums for addicts that are looking for answers or patients in recovery that are looking for support.
Some alternatives to 12-step addiction support groups will include:
SMART Recovery is a form of a support group that maintains focus on self-empowerment. The meaning of the program name means self-management and recovery training. A licensed counselor will be the facilitator who leads the group and guides each member through a four-point program.
SMART bases the four points on cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy. The group states that members can develop the ability to overcome their addiction completely. SMART also has an online community that can offer support through a variety of web courses.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
SOS will take a self-empowerment approach to addiction recovery. Although the group is built for any addicts, most will choose SOS for its secular approach in helping to reach a sober state. SOS support groups will help guide members and overcoming their denial and addictive tendencies through the practice of honest communication. The SOS founding members maintain that recovery through personal responsibility and self-reliance is possible.
Women for Sobriety (WFS)
It is vital to understand that women and men will face different issues during the recovery process. Therefore, WFS had become the first addict support group built for women only.
WFS had based its program on 13 acceptable statements that can help shape the way women in recovery are approaching life. These statements give women the ability to find strength by educating them on how to let go of negative thoughts and accept any previous failures.
WFS will hold support groups for women with an addiction where they can share their struggles and find mutual support amongst their peers. Women are also able to participate in WFS moderated online chats and forums.
For the individuals looking for a Christian-based support group, you can find that in Celebrate Recovery. This group forum will center all meetings on Christian scripture and helping to find the strength during the recovery process. Celebrate Recovery will offer literature with a curriculum to help and addiction. The group will also adopt a Bible to include the parts of the curriculum.
The recovery model at Celebrate Recovery is to educate members and excepting that a higher power is in control. This group was built also provide support for issues such as low self-esteem and depression.
Addiction Support Groups for Families
Addiction, being as tough as it is on the user, has just as many negative consequences as it does on their family. It could be a challenge for loved ones to forgive an addict for past wrongdoings or to stay supportive of their recovery process. That’s where the family support group stepped in to help treat the addiction as a condition that harms the whole family.
Constructive family involvement will help the individual with the addiction to heal and mitigate bitterness amongst the family members.
Some more informal family support groups will include Al-Anon and Families Anonymous. These groups will also help to educate family members on how to encourage an addict to seek help or to maintain sobriety.
Family support groups will also help educate loved ones on how to avoid situations which include:
- Holding grudges
- Denying issues that could have led to substance use
- Enabling and addicts bad habits
- Blaming the user for their substance use
- Withholding issues and refusing to talk
Addicts find the most success during recovery when their family members stand by them and understand what their loved one is going through. Knowing and understand addiction can affect anybody at any time, and enlisting help will help heal the family as a whole.
Call Fresh Start Today for More Information on Support Groups
If you or a loved one needs help for alcohol or drug use, our support groups at Fresh Start can help in getting back onto the path of recovery.
Here at Fresh Start, we understand how people can be hesitant to join a group. They may feel they don’t have an addiction, or it won’t compare to the dependencies of other group members. But do not hit rock bottom before enlisting help. Call our offices at Fresh Start today and allow our team to get you the information you need on a support group to work best for you.
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