The Beauty of a 12 Step Program

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Addiction is defined as a disease by most medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

The disease of addiction is a chronic, progressive and terminal illness.

Without treatment and constant management of the illness, addiction will progress and result in self destruction and possibly death.

A 12-Step program is a very effective way to manage the disease of addiction.

As part of a long-term recovery, the program is based on the 5 Pillars of Recovery. The 5 Pillars have been proven to be effective for chemical dependency, co-dependency, depression, grief and loss, eating disorders and behavioural disorders such as gambling. When clients relapse, it is usually because they have not made all 5 of the Pillars part of their lives. There is more to recovery then just the 5 Pillars, yet in my experience, the possibility of relapse is minimised if all of the 5 Pillars are actively pursued.

The 5 Pillars

1. Regular meeting attendance
2. Acceptance of a higher power
3. Sponsor
4. 12 Steps (step work)
5. Service to others

1) At Crossroads Recovery Centre, clients are taken to three outside meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) and also required to partake in two in-house meetings on the premises. This is an opportunity for them to connect with others who are actively pursuing their recovery and to get guidance and support with their struggles. Meetings cover variety of topics and will sometimes have a dedicated speaker for the evening. This is a chance for members in attendance to learn more about how the program works as well as a forum to carry a message of hope to others.

2) It is important for an addict to turn their lives over to a Higher Power of their understanding. The 12 Step program is essentially a spiritual program and spiritual groups, prayer and meditation is at the core of our treatment program at Crossroads. The definition of a Higher Power often varies from person to person, but AA and NA do not subscribe to, or endorse any religion or lack thereof. People of all belief systems and faiths are welcome, no one will ever be turned away because of their beliefs.

3) Getting a sponsor after treatment is vital. A sponsor acts as a guide for the journey through the 12 steps, as well as acting as a mentor and forms an important part of a recovering persons support structure. Our philosophy is based on the philosophy of one addict helping another. All our counsellors are not only professionally qualified counsellor, they are also recovering addicts with over 100 years of clean time. The benefits of one addict helping another is so valuable because not only do our counsellors, and the sponsors working in 12 step fellowships, fully believe and live by what they preach, they offer support from a place of mutual understanding.
The counsellor guides the clients through the 12 Steps whilst in treatment and thereafter clients are encouraged and assisted to get their own recovery sponsor.

4) The 12 Steps is a written spiritual program which deals with all aspects of addiction. Namely, denial, powerlessness, unmanageability, coming to believe in a higher power, personal inventory, defects, amends, forgiveness, guilt, shame and trauma are only some of the issues covered. Written Step work is the core of the 12 steps program and clients are required to spend much of their lime on this crucial process. Stepwork is an opportunity to critically look at the behaviours, attitudes, and pre-conceived ideas that lead to a person seeking help. It is an opportunity to challenge our thinking, getting to the root of a problem that may in the past not have been given much thought.

5) Clients are required to be of service in the house whilst in treatment and are actively encouraged to become sponsors themselves upon completing the 12 Steps. Service is a corner stone of the 12-step programs. Being not for profit institutes, and being almost entirely run by volunteer involvement, the 12 step programs only exist because recovering addicts put their time and energy into service to keep the doors to the meetings open. Being of service to others and carrying a message to fellow addicts is what helps keeps a person clean and sober.

 

Coming into a fellowship can be intimidating and confusing for someone who has never been part of a support group before. A lot of what we do at Crossroad Recovery Centre is based around the 12 steps and 12 step groups because it is such an effective way for a person to have long term support in their recovery. It is a way for a person to keep bettering themselves, long after they have left a treatment facility.