Why the 12 Steps?
“For most decisions in life, it’s best to not jump right in. You should assess and diagnose – but not when it comes to entering a drug or alcohol treatment program,” says RCA’s Senior Recovery Instructor Chris Brennan. “I didn’t have the luxury of time, and neither do you. It’s time to get into action quickly and address this before your mind talks you out of it.”
Recovery Centers of America fully embraces the 12 Steps as an effective approach to continued recovery – particularly when combined with other addiction treatment methodologies such as behavioral therapies, psychiatric care, and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) (when clinically appropriate). At RCA, an immersive 12 Step curriculum is offered as a component of each of our patients individualized treatment plan.
Meg Fenn explains the 12-Steps in everyday terms.
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
First developed in 1935 by Bill Wilson & Dr. Bob during the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the 12 Steps is a program of recovery designed to help individuals suffering from alcoholism and addiction attain long-lasting, contented sobriety.
The 12 Steps outline a path to spiritual progress through a series of actions designed to elicit what The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous refers to as a “psychic change” – a complete mental, emotional, and spiritual shift in perception.
“You don’t have a drinking or drug problem – you have a thinking (self) problem. And the 12 Steps focus on fighting the battle of self,” says Brennan.
We believe the 12 Steps are critical elements of any long-term recovery program. Accordingly, we include their teachings & principals into every component of our treatment program.
What are the 12 Steps?
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the results of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
For additional information on Alcoholics Anonymous or to find an AA meeting near you, visit www.aa.org.
Introduction to the 12 Step Program
What are the 12 Steps of recovery?
We hear this often, so to help patients who have minimal or no knowledge of the 12 Steps approach to recovery, we apply the research-based and thoroughly tested Open Doorways toolkit developed by the Treatment Research Institute (TRI) in Philadelphia. This method of introduction guides patients through a series of interactive sessions, including:
- Asking questions about the 12 Steps: This introduces the Steps and allows patients to voice any questions and concerns. For instance, 12 Step encourages reliance on a spiritual foundation, but many groups give individuals the freedom to choose their own version of a “Higher Power.” This choice often helps patients let go of any religious resentments or preconceived prejudices toward spiritual practices.
“Go look at a starlit night or a beautiful scene in nature and ask yourself who created all this. Then pray to that,” Brennan says.
- Finding the right fit: This session encourages patients to attend a 12 Step meeting to join a group that may be instrumental in the patient’s ‘community of recovery.’
- The first Steps-acceptance & surrender: Patients are introduced to the first three Steps. They’ll explore themes of acceptance, powerlessness, and surrender. They’ll reflect on what a Higher Power means to them and learn to recognize defense mechanisms that keep them stuck in addictive patterns.
- Sponsorship and making connections: Here, patients become familiar with the sponsor and sponsee relationship, and are taught the importance of making connections with others.
The Steps-building healthy relationships: This session helps develop a further understanding about the 12 Steps and encourages patients to attend meetings and work the Steps.
Applying the 12 Steps
The 12 Step approach to rehabilitation treatment is embraced throughout the world, so you can find support where you are or wherever you go. Accordingly, we advise patients to keep in contact with ‘sober supports’ they make during treatment at one of our locations. The definition of a sober support varies for each person – it could be someone who helps you continue your 12 Step education, teaches you more about each specific step, or even a buddy to introduce you to other people in recovery. We’ll help you surround yourself with sober 12 Step connections.
At Recovery Centers of America, we provide our patients with transportation to weekly 12 Step meetings held by members of the local recovery community. We offer open and free meeting space at each one of our sites for any 12 Step or other recovery support groups who would like to host a meeting, free of charge. We also offer spiritual services on-site, and people of all faiths are welcome to attend.