Why 12-Step Recovery Is Effective

Published: 12/6/17

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Beginning your journey to recovery is a major step that can bring up complicated emotions, including fear and uncertainty. This can be a frightening time but you don’t need to face this battle alone. Each year, millions of people make the same courageous choice and commit to living a healthier life.

But committing to making a change is a much larger undertaking than just kicking a bad habit. Many treatment options focus primarily on breaking the addiction, but to maintain sobriety requires a complete reevaluation of habits, goals, and behaviors. For this reason, many recovering addicts have achieved their recovery goals by participating in a 12-Step program in addition to their current treatment.

Since the birth of the 12-Step model in the 1930s, the program has served not just as an addiction remedy but as an outline for a complete lifestyle and psychological transformation. By acknowledging that you have a life-threatening problem, attention can begin to shift from the substance itself to a change in one’s own attitudes and behaviors. This means facing the obstacles that led you to addiction head-on and finding peace and acceptance in these circumstances.

One of the wonderful things about the 12-Step program is that you’ll quickly realize that you’re not alone in your struggles. The group setting is a safe haven for you to share your trials and experiences, knowing that others have been through it too. While your family and friends will support you the best they can, it may be difficult for them to directly relate to the challenges you’re faced with. Having the support of others who can truly empathize with you can be a great help, which is why so many recovering addicts choose to participate in a 12-Step Program to complement their current treatment plan.

Some may find it difficult to open up about their life and struggles with a group of complete strangers. Acknowledging your problem internally is important but opening up to others in a group setting is an enormous step, and this accountability is a key component in the success of this particular program. Having others to celebrate in your milestones can reinforce your commitment and further encourage you to abstain. Similarly, knowing that slipping up may disappoint your peers can be a deterrent to pesky temptations.

It’s normal to feel a bit of reluctance, but the 12-Step program has been around for nearly a century, and is now a part of three out of every four treatment facilities, proving that it not only works to help combat addiction but actually changes lives, too.