Do you have questions about the 12-step program in addiction recovery? Many people do! It’s good that you are asking questions, as it helps to inform yourself on why the 12 steps are important and how they can support your alcohol recovery in Denver. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about 12-step programs, which we’ll clear up in this post. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll feel confident knowing what to expect from this program.
What are 12-Step Programs?
12-step programs are support groups designed for people battling drug and alcohol addiction, as well as other destructive behaviors. The meetings are easily accessible, readily available and free for everyone. They consist of men and women who share their experiences and offer hope to one another.
Millions of people around the world are members of 12-step programs and roughly 75 percent of Denver treatment centers follow this philosophy as well. Even though statistics are hard to come by due to the anonymity of the groups, it’s safe to say that the 12 steps help people achieve and maintain abstinence from behavioral problems and substance use disorders.
Are 12-Step Programs Religious?
A common misconception about the 12 steps is that they are religious. This is understandable because there are references to God. However, “God” only means a higher power.
You do not have to believe in God or someone else’s concept of God to benefit from the 12 steps. In fact, many non-religious people participate in these groups and see just as much benefit as people who are religious. By “coming to believe” in a higher power of some sort, you can connect with something greater than yourself which you can turn to to help support you through stressful or difficult circumstances, especially in the early days of recovery.
How Do 12-Step Meetings Operate?
Another question that people often have is what a typical 12-step meeting looks like. These programs provide a safe, supportive place where people can talk about alcohol recovery in Denver with others in similar situations.
12-step meetings are usually led by people in recovery who are participating in the program – not professional drug counselors. During the meeting, you’ll introduce yourself by first name only. You can share your story, listen to others and engage in things like reading 12-step literature, meditating and reciting prayers. No attendance is taken.
How Often Can I Go to 12-Step Meetings?
Meetings are held every day across the U.S., so you can easily find one in your local area. In major cities like Denver, there are often hundreds of meetings a week. If you are unable to attend in person, consider a virtual meeting instead. These are especially popular right now due to social distancing efforts.
In early recovery, people often attend 12-step meetings multiple times a week. Attendance is not required, so you can attend as often as needed. There are both open and closed meetings. Open meetings allow anyone to attend, such as the addict and their family members. Closed meetings are reserved only for addicts.
Understanding the 12 Steps of Recovery
Below you’ll find a brief description of each step. You can use this source to find more in-depth information about each of the 12 steps and why they are important to outpatient treatment in Denver.
Step 1: Honesty
Denial is a key symptom of addiction. In this step, you admit that you are powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable. Often, this involves journaling or other written work , which can help you clarify the damage done to your life or health by your addiction.
Step 2: Faith
In order to heal, you must come to believe a higher power exists. You are not required to accept someone else’s idea of God. Rather, it’s about trusting in something greater than yourself. For some, this higher power can be the meeting itself.
Step 3: Surrender
By turning everything over to a higher power, you can begin to make changes in your life. Allowing a greater power to take over can be difficult, but it’s also comforting and relieving.
Step 4: Soul Searching
Recovery is a process, not a single event. In step 4, you begin to look at yourself and your many layers – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Step 5: Integrity
This is one of the most difficult steps because you must admit your wrongdoings to a higher power and another person. However, it’s also one of the most fulfilling steps.
Step 6: Acceptance
In this step, you accept your shortcomings exactly as they are and be willing to let them go. You must then take steps to address these issues.
Step 7: Humility
The focus of this step is to ask your higher power to help you remove your character defects, as you know you can’t do this alone. It’s not a matter of self-will or determination.
Step 8: Willingness
Now it’s time to make a list of the people you hurt during your addiction. The hard part is being willing to make amends, but once you begin to do so, you can relieve yourself from guilt.
Step 9: Forgiveness
Making amends requires you to talk directly with the people you have hurt, including yourself. By owning up to your wrongdoings, you can forgive yourself and others.
Step 10: Maintenance
Step 10 helps you keep your spiritual house wholesome. Take inventory and admit when you are wrong so that you don’t hold it inside.
Step 11: Making Contact
The purpose of this step is to discover the plan your higher power has for your life. In other words, what is your life purpose? How can you carry it out?
Step 12: Service
Lastly, step 12 encourages you to carry the message to others and practice these principles in your everyday life. At this step, you may be ready to become a sponsor to someone else in need.
Studies have demonstrated that people who participate in 12-step programs generally do better than those who don’t participate in them. Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado follows the 12-step philosophy, as we believe our clients have a lot to gain from this program. Not only can it support your drug and alcohol recovery in Denver, but also it can help you lead a fulfilled, happy life. This is far better than just being clean and sober. To learn more about our outpatient drug and alcohol treatment in Denver and how we work the 12 steps into our program, contact us today.