Created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step model of recovery has been adopted by many support groups to help members overcome addiction to alcohol, narcotics, gambling, overeating, and other substances and behaviors. While many people know the first step—admitting there’s a problem—they aren’t sure what to expect when entering a 12-step program.
Understanding the Spiritual Undertones
There are some spiritual undertones within the 12 steps, but most programs aren’t affiliated with any religion. The guidelines recognize that an undefined higher power is at work; however, whether that higher power is God, love, nature, the Universe, or something else entirely, each individual can interpret the language to apply to one’s own spiritual or religious beliefs.
A Typical Meeting
Whether attending for themselves or to support a family member, many people feel apprehensive before their first meeting. Knowing what to expect can ease some of this anxiety. The meeting may be in a church or community center, and there may be quite a few people there. Some may introduce themselves, while others will stick to themselves. As they arrive, people will take seats around the person serving as the chairperson. The chairperson will start by leading certain group traditions, like reciting the Serenity Prayer, reviewing group literature and rules, and welcoming newcomers. Those who feel comfortable can introduce themselves, but no one is obligated. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no need to stand up and say, “I am an addict.”
Types of Meetings
Where the conversation goes next depends on the type of meeting, such as:
- Discussion meeting: The chairperson leads a discussion on a chosen topic from group literature.
- Beginner’s meeting: Led by a long-time member in recovery, beginner’s meetings take several forms, from Q&A sessions to discussion of the first few steps.
- Speaker meeting: A member in recovery may share their experience and how the 12-step program has helped them move forward.
- Step meeting: The group discusses specific steps from the guidelines.
- Service meeting: Members discuss service opportunities and activities.
There are several other types of meetings, some open to the public and some closed. The chairperson will guide the discussion according to the group’s policies.
Start the Journey to Recovery
While some debate the effectiveness of 12-step programs, the Journal of Addictive Disorders has published studies indicating that those who attend regularly for a long period of time may have a better chance of abstaining from addictive substances and behaviors than those who don’t. A strong support system and quality substance abuse treatment program can also help with recovery. Recovery Place offers a safe place for patients to explore their health and addiction issues while focusing on healing in a therapeutic environment. Our behavioral health team may be able to help address your addiction concerns, and we accept all private insurance providers. Call Recovery Place today at (912) 355-1440 to learn about our admissions process.
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