Roughly 88 years ago, one man had to make a decision in Akron, Ohio. He was struggling with work, struggling to pay his bills, and, most importantly, struggling to stay sober. One day at a hotel, he came to a crossroads. He was at the end of his rope and could only think of two solutions. One was to take a drink in the lobby bar. The other was to call someone and ask for help. Luckily, he chose the latter. This is the origin of the 12-Step program as we know it today. These same programs have helped countless people recover and stay recovered after treatment.
What Exactly Is 12-Step Recovery?
All those years ago, the person in that hotel was one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Bill Wilson (more commonly known as Bill W.). He reached out to Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (more commonly known as Dr. Bob), the other co-founder of AA.
Together, these men determined that the only way they would stay sober was to do two things. One was to reach out to help others who need recovery. The other was to connect to a Power greater than themselves, which they would eventually call God. Both of these principles would eventually be expanded to the Twelve Steps.
The Twelve Steps are essentially a list of rules for living a healthy life in recovery, and the truth is that they are essentially healthy rules by which anyone can live their lives. While there are 12 steps, they can easily be broken down into three groups. The first three steps are admitting that only a Higher Power (or God) can help one recover. Then, the next six steps are “action steps” to fully recover and heal. The last three steps (also known as the “maintenance steps”) are to maintain a healthy recovery by helping others and staying connected to God.
The Benefits of Joining a 12-Step Program After Treatment
The primary benefit of joining a 12-Step program (which includes programs like Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, and many more) after treatment is that it can help maintain sobriety. For many, this sobriety means avoiding future “jails, institutions, or even death.” There are also many benefits that a 12-Step program offers, which come with maintaining sobriety at its healthiest level. The following are just a few of those benefits:
- They offer a sense of community
- There are many opportunities to perform service in recovery, a cornerstone of success
- They provide clear goals and structure
- Offers a chance to connect to a spiritual program
- Helps to create an expansive and accessible “sober network”
- Can keep someone connected to the recovery plan that was created while in treatment
- They offer easily accessible meetings which can be accessed 24/7, 365 days a year (online and in person)
Being an Active Member of a 12-Step Program After Treatment
There is one important aspect to 12-Step recovery that many people often forget. One must work the Twelve Steps for a 12-Step program to work fully. This does not mean that some people don’t find that simply attending meetings is enough for their recovery. It means that more people experience better results when they fully participate in the steps.
As they say in many 12-Step meetings, “It works if you work it, so work it, you’re worth it.” 12-Step programs are programs of action. That action includes staying connected to a Higher Power via meditation and prayer and working with “newcomers” who need help with their recovery. When this happens, there is a good chance that strong sobriety will happen alongside it.
Utilizing a 12-Step Program Alongside Other Recovery Tools After Treatment
For many people, being part of a 12-Step program is their sole form of recovery. This is certainly fine if it works for them. However, many other people feel that they need more in their recovery.
Many people choose to have a multifaceted recovery plan after treatment. Yes, this includes a 12-Step program. But, it also may consist of therapy, physical activities, holistic measures, and religious participation. Just as utilizing many modalities while in treatment is ideal for recovery, utilizing many avenues after treatment is also ideal.
The Recovery Mission at Clearview Girls Academy
There is a statement that is often said at the end of 12-Step meetings. It is known as the “Responsibility Statement.” It goes, “I am responsible; when anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of [recovery] always to be there. And for that, I am responsible.”
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we also take that responsibility statement seriously. Our hand will always be there whenever any young woman needs our help, pre or post-treatment. For that, we are responsible.
There are many avenues one can take after leaving a stay in residential treatment. One of the most common is joining a 12-Step program (such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous). There are many benefits of joining a 12-Step program after treatment, such as attending meetings to stay more closely connected to one’s recovery, being able to create an expansive “sober network,” and offering an opportunity to help others in recovery (which in turn keeps oneself sober). If you feel like you need help staying connected to a recovery plan after treatment, we can help. For more information on where to connect to 12-Step meetings (online and in-person), please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.