Twelve-step programs came into existence in 1935 with the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. The program is nonprofessional and self-supporting, and meetings can be found across the world. Members of AA share their experience with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem, provide sponsorship to those attending meetings and offer a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
Based on the Twelve Steps, AA offers members an abstinence-based recovery support program. From AA, many other twelve-step support groups have emerged, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA). When adapted by NA initially, the AA First Step terminology was changed to reflect the word “addiction” in lieu of “alcohol,” so as to reflect the disease concept of addiction.
Made widely available in 1939 when Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism was published, the Twelve Steps have benefited countless individuals. Many recovery programs have utilized the Twelve Steps as a framework and blueprint for recovery. As with NA, language has been changed in some programs to be more in line with their philosophies, such as “higher power” rather than “God.”
The steps provide a guide for people to work through their recovery journey, by taking an honest accounting of themselves, deconstructing their preconceived ideas and then rebuilding, piece by piece. Utilizing honesty, humility, acceptance, courage, compassion, forgiveness, and self-discipline, behavioral change along with emotional and spiritual growth can occur. While originally rooted in religion, twelve-step programs now tend to supper the idea of a ‘Higher Power’ to be inclusive to all. Higher Power can mean anything – it can be God, nature, fate, the universe, etc. It’s a personal belief that is greater than oneself.
Defining Wellness Centers offers Twelve Step meetings so that our clients can develop an understanding of the support systems available to them. Twelve Step groups are not therapy, rather they are a peer-based form of fellowship, wherein one can share experiences and develop a network of support. Talking with people who have had similar experiences can be enlightening and shines a light on the fact that those fighting addictions are not alone. Used in conjunction with therapy, they can provide a needed outlet for people in recovery.
There are many forms of twelve-step based groups and we encourage everyone to explore what’s available to them. What works for one person may not work for another, and that’s okay. For that very reason, there are a variety of groups available to experience where you can determine what works for you.
Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA)
a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships
Emotions Anonymous (EA)
an international fellowship of men and women who desire to improve their emotional well-being
Nar-Anon (for loved ones of addicts)
If you or a loved one are struggling and need support, these options are all here for you along with inpatient treatment. If you’re unsure about what your needs are, or whether you have a problem, call us at (855) 466-4146 and we can talk through it and develop a plan. We’re here for you on your wellness journey.
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