Understanding 12-Step Meetings and Their Role in Treatment
You’ve probably heard about the 12-step program before, even if you haven’t directly been affected by addiction. But do you know what this program entails and how it’s beneficial to treatment? If you or a loved one is battling addiction, understanding the 12-step program is an essential component to recovery. When going through the various stages of treatment, you can use the information learned in the meetings to get you through each stage successfully.
What is the 12-Step Program?
The 12-step philosophy is very important to The River Source, and it lays the foundation for our naturopathic, therapeutic approach toward addiction recovery. During the 12-step program, patients can expect the following:
- Admitting that they have an addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Recognizing that a higher power can give them the strength they need
- Examining past mistakes with the help of a sponsor
- Coming to terms with these mistakes
- Learning how to live a new life that is free from drugs, alcohol and other harmful behaviors
- Helping other who suffer from the same afflictions
At The River Source, we offer 12-step meetings as part of our treatment plan, and we encourage our residents to continue with these meetings long after treatment has been completed. We believe these meetings to be a strong basis for not only staying sober, but also for having the drive to stay clean.
Types of 12-Step Meetings
There are two types of 12-step meetings: discussion meetings and speaker meetings.
Discussion Meetings: During these meetings, a moderator runs the meeting and chooses various topics to talk about. In many settings, people will sit in chairs in a circle, as this dynamic allows everyone to look at each other and give their full attention when listening or speaking. These meetings are not just for sharing experiences, but also advice and support. That’s why it’s a smart idea to continue attending these meetings long after treatment, as you can learn various ways of coping, rebuilding a healthy lifestyle and letting go of past mistakes.
Speaker Meetings: In speaker meetings, there is a speaker that is chosen ahead of time to lead the meeting. There speaker can be anyone that will offer some type of useful information regarding drug and alcohol addiction, spiritual healing and growth, forming healthy relationships, building self-confidence and so on. The majority of these speakers has suffered from drug or alcohol addiction and are eager to share their experiences of how they escaped the lifestyle. After the speaker shares their story, everyone is free to discuss further topics or ask questions.
Why 12-Step Meetings Are Essential to Recovery
Attending meetings may seem to be too simple to truly aid in recovery, but when 12-step meetings are combined with a rigorous treatment program, the chances for recovery are so much greater. At The River Source, our philosophy is that the whole person needs to be treated, not just the symptoms of addiction. If you don’t address the underlying reasons for why the addiction first started, you can’t truly heal the addict. That’s what our staff appreciates about the 12-step program; it seeks recovery in the spiritual, mental, and emotional areas. Therefore, the whole person is treated.
Sponsors are the guides who lead addicts on their spiritual journey, and during treatment, patients are expected to have at least one sponsor. This sponsor has gone through their own struggles of addiction and is meant to be of support. Their priority is to aid the recovering addict from addiction, and in turn, the sponsorship allows the sponsor to recover. We believe this relationship to be fundamental in the healing process; much like our residents who create nurturing, supportive environment that is conducive to healing.
What is Expected from Recovering Patients?
When starting treatment at The River Source, many of our patients want to know what is expected of them during 12-step meetings. We are asked such questions as, “Do I have to participate? Do I have to share personal information? Will my stories be kept confindential?”
In order to get the most form these meetings, we strongly encourage that all patients participate. We do feel that patients should share their personal stories at their own pace, but eventually, you will receive a sponsor and may become one yourself, so it’s important to open up about your journey in order to start the healing process. Service is also a large part of the 12-step program, so expect to assist with such things as putting away chairs after a meeting or cleaning up after a snack.
Everything that is shared in a meeting is completely confidential. Just as you want all information to be kept private, you must do the same for others. Sometimes, however, there are people who want to be a part of a meeting that may not have a drug or alcohol addiction, such as a family member or student. For these instances, there are ‘open’ meetings where less private information is shared. Otherwise, the meetings are ‘closed’ and kept strictly confidential.
To learn more about the 12-step meetings at The River Source, contact us today at 888-549-3510