12-Step programs are a common part of addiction recovery. Many treatment programs utilize a 12-Step approach, and many of those recovering choose to attend meetings after they complete their treatment. Attending meetings can help individuals maintain their recovery efforts and connect to a support network of people who’ve been through and understand their journeys. However, there are various 12-Step groups out there. So, how do you know which one is right for you?
What Are 12-Step Programs?
If you are struggling with any type of addiction, you may have heard that a 12-Step program can potentially benefit you in your recovery. These programs are community and peer-based self-help support groups that host regular meetings in numerous locations. Participants attend these meetings while working through the 12 Steps that outline a program for living in recovery.
In a 12-Step program, you will find a sponsor to walk you through the 12 Steps. A sponsor is someone who attends your meetings, has gone through the 12 Steps themselves, and has maintained sobriety. This is someone that you can choose yourself, and it should be someone that you feel comfortable with. Your sponsor will help keep you accountable for staying sober and will be someone you can talk to who understands what you have been through and what you might be feeling. However, it is essential to remember that your sponsor is not a therapist and that you should seek out professional services if that is something you think you need.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first 12-Step program founded in 1935. All other 12-Step programs have been based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions that originated from AA. According to AA, the 12 Steps “are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.” While many people think 12-Step programs are religious, this is far from the truth. The program is based on spirituality, and members are encouraged to develop their own concept of a “Higher Power.”
AA is an international mutual aid fellowship with the stated purpose of enabling its members to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” AA is nonprofessional, non-denominational, self-supporting, and apolitical. Its only membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking.
The literature in AA focuses mainly on problems with alcohol, but anyone is welcome into the fellowship. AA may be suitable for someone who feels their main problem is drinking.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Narcotics Anonymous (NA), founded in 1953, describes itself as a “nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem.” NA uses a 12-Step model developed for people with various substance use disorders and is the second-largest 12-Step organization. NA is not meant to focus on any particular drug, and NA’s approach makes no distinction between drugs, including alcohol. Like AA, the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using drugs.
The 12 Steps of NA are also not religious in nature despite references to God. Like AA, members are encouraged to find their own understanding of a “Higher Power.” The program of NA may fit for someone who feels another drug other than alcohol was their main problem or had problems using multiple substances.
Celebrate Recovery started in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. It is a Christ-centered, 12-Step program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind. Celebrate Recovery defines itself as a biblical and balanced program that helps members overcome their hurts, hang-ups, and habits. They believe in the words of Jesus rather than psychological theory. Celebrate Recovery was designed to help people through their addiction with the power of Jesus Christ.
Celebrate Recovery may be right for individuals who want to work a 12-Step program through a church. This program is best for those who are Christian and wish to incorporate their religion into their recovery process.
Other 12-Step Programs
Various other 12-Step programs focus on one particular drug or problem. These programs may be suitable for those who wish to focus their recovery on that specific problem:
- Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
- Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)
- Heroin Anonymous (HA)
- Marijuana Anonymous (MA)
- Pills Anonymous (PA)
For those who feel like the 12 Steps may not fit their recovery needs but want the support of a group, there are options available, such as:
- SMART Recovery
- Women for Sobriety
- LifeRing Secular Recovery
12-Step programs are an excellent resource for those in recovery. Attending 12-Step meetings can help individuals maintain their recovery efforts and connect to a support network of people who’ve been through and understand their journeys. With the multitude of 12-Step programs available worldwide, finding the right one for you can seem like a daunting task. The right 12-Step group will depend on the individual and their level of comfortability within a group. The decision may also depend on the substance you used, whether you want to focus on one particular substance or if you are religious. If you need support in finding the right 12-Step program for you, Hired Power is here to help. Depending on individual needs, we offer Recovery Care Managers and Personal Recovery Assistants (PRAs) or sober companions who work one-on-one with each client to implement healthy changes as they transition back to independent living. When you choose Hired Power’s sober companion service in Orange County, CA, you can feel confident that you’ll engage a qualified team of professionals. To learn more, call us today at (800) 910-9299.