Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was started by two middle-aged men in 1935 who talked to each other about the bad decisions and regrets they had about their alcohol abuse. This 2-man group eventually grew to a medium-sized group and today become a massive group of individuals spread throughout the nation. Most treatment centers now use AA as a supporting aspect in recovery, in addition to other treatment services like Behavioral Cognitive Therapy (CBT), Art Therapy, and detox medications. The two men who started AA also published a book with a recommended 12-step plan for recovery.
Now, this 12-step plan is implemented in AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The first step is for the addict to admit that they are powerless over addiction and that they genuinely need help. Second, the user is encouraged to believe that a higher power can help them heal and recover. Step three involves turning over the will and life of the user to God. This is crucial for helping the user understand that their efforts alone are not enough to fully overcome their addiction, which helps them open up to others who are trying to help them. Psychologically, this instills hope beyond the real world, beyond their many failures to overcome their addiction before.
Step four involves looking within oneself to take a moral inventory. This process helps the user see any mistakes they may have made and any damage they may have caused to others and to themselves during their addiction. Step five is admitting to God and others that they have done wrong. In turn, this should lessen the guilt and pent-up secrecy that was once repressed as a means of denial or hiding the addiction from loved ones. In step 6, the user is ready to have God remove any defects of character.
Step seven involves directly asking God to remove these defects. Step eight means taking action by making a list of all the people the user affected by the decision to make amends. Through this, the user comes to realize the reality that their actions alone affected others and how many people their actions affected. Often, people can go into tunnel vision and not realize that their actions affect others. It is only when one takes a step back to pause and look at one’s self, that one can see the effects they had on others.
Step nine is taking action by making amends to as many people on the list as possible without causing further damage. This means apologizing to anyone the user encounters that they believe they had affected during their drug use. Step ten is similar to prior steps in that the user keeps an inventory and admit when they are wrong. Step eleven is the practice of meditation and prayer to improve the relationship with God. The last step, step 12, is when the user has an awakening and tries to carry the message to other addicts. This spreads treatment to others and helps the addict truly become a changed person.
Most addiction treatment centers offer this 12-step program as a supportive method to standard treatment. Asana Recovery is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center that offers therapies, detox, and residential rehabilitation. Call 949-438-4504 to learn more about their treatment services.