Since the mid-1930s over two hundred organizations have been created for the purpose of helping those battling various kinds of addictions. From Alcoholics Anonymous to Overeaters Anonymous, there’s practically a group out there for everyone. These twelve-step recovery methods address the wide ranging issues that often plague the members involved. Emotional, spiritual, and psychological issues may differ from one person to the next, but the bond which unites all the supporters in a group is the desire to become or remain sober. Sobriety is the foremost priority for addicts and many are able to share what they’ve learned through the guiding principles.
Almost 76 years ago, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith created what’s known today as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This twelve-step group, commonly referred to as a “fellowship,” was the first group of its kind and takes a spiritual approach to recovery. While there is no official definition adopted by the group, most divisions agree that it’s best described as “a physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession.” Let’s be clear that AA is not associated with a specific religious group and they do not actively “recruit” members. Rather, they welcome individuals from all walks of life in over 150 countries worldwide. The steps contained within the program involve the following actions:
- Taking an honest look at your addiction and being able to admit to yourself that you are powerless over alcohol
- Believing that a higher power exists and surrendering to its supremacy
- Conducting a review of your past and the errors you’ve made along the way
- Making amends with the mistakes of the past and adopting a new code of conduct
The final steps involve helping fellow addicts on their journey towards sobriety. Read the original twelve steps published by Alcoholics Anonymous.
If you’re unsure whether or not you have a problem with alcohol, you can take a simple quiz on AA.org which asks some questions likes:
- Has your drinking caused trouble at home?
- Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?
- Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
During, and even after seeking rehab, individuals may gravitate towards these groups for additional support or camaraderie.
Outpatient Treatment Programs (OTP)
In many instances, it’s recommended that individuals plagued with severe addiction remain enrolled in an outpatient treatment program while attending 12-step groups. In Palm Beach, Florida the “addiction treatment capital of the world,” Ambrosia Treatment Centers have accredited plans for long-term rehabilitation. This type of treatment is ideal for those who need to be present for work/school or have childcare related obligations.
Whichever path you elect on the road to recovery, make sure it works for you. There is more than one way overcome an addiction so learning from a group of people with varied and eclectic backgrounds can be beneficial. Locate a twelve-step program near you by checking online, local treatment facilities, and community health departments.