Treatment and the 12 steps:
To begin the year, I thought we would look at the relationship between treatment and the 12 steps of recovery. The 12 steps have long been considered the most effective way to help a chemical abuser, drugs or alcohol, a sex addict, gambler, shopaholic, exercise addict, you got it I think, face and recover from their addiction of choice. This is not a guess, conjuncture, or implied statistic. This is a fact. While many other ways exist that can be helpful, nothing is on record as being as effective with people who have addictive personalities, then the 12 steps are. This is boring out both by scientific, medical, and practical feedback. While you may find pockets of people representing every know way for sobriety to work, you will not come close to finding one method or modality that helps more people(several million in different anonymous groups worldwide. Anonymous groups include but are not limited to, AA, NA, CA, HA, CMA, PA, SLA, SA, MA). There is a reason for this. Over the next year, we will explore why that is and why treatment is so important in today’s society. I began writing this piece planning on doing a quick intro and then moving into step 1. It became apparent to me that I needed to devote a whole article on why 12 step based treatment centers work so well. Thankfully, some of the steps can be combined into one article so we can start the actual step by step breakdown next month.
So, why do 12 steps based treatment work? Simple, look at it like this. Any addiction problem affects the user or abuser on 4 basic levels. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is why addiction of any kind differs from a bad habit. A bad habit, say biting your nails, generally only effects you in a few ways. You bite the nail, so that is physical and you do it when you are nervous which is emotional. Although it is hard to stop a bad habit, any addict would tell you quitting heroin or alcohol use is about a million times harder than quitting your biting habit. When a drug makes a person feel physically different, calms or speeds up their mind, quells their emotions and allows them to feel a higher connection or purpose(hence the term “high” as in getting higher), you are looking at one heck of an enemy if you are trying to convince the person that walking away from this drug is the right thing to do. So, if you have a four-pronged problem, you better offer a four-pronged solution. Ever try to bail hay with a one or two-pronged pitchfork? You better clear your calendar for a few months, because you are going to be bailing hay for a while.
A 12 step approach program offers a four-pronged solution. By definition, the 12 steps facilitate changes on all four levels of life by themselves. Treatment does a wonderful job of connecting the dots and allowing the person a safe, secure, and wonderful place to heal in all four areas. In a place like River Source, you are given tools like Yoga, gym, the sauna, and most importantly(in my humble opinion)constant connection to Naturopathic MDs who can help guide the physical healing. In counseling and life coaching the mental and emotional parts of recovery are discovered and explored and in groups and with sponsors, pastors, families and friends, the spirituality of life and recovery are re-found or in some cases found for the very first time. If the steps are the glue that keeps life together and thriving then treatment is the glue gun that helps deliver the message and secures that a person in treatment will have the best shot at getting well. Thanks for reading and check back next month for more on this topic.
**Please note that all matter stated here is that of an independent writer and does not represent the River Source trying to re-define the steps, this is simply a look at how treatment uses the 12 steps. In support of that purpose, only a synopsis of each step will be included every month. For a list of the 12 steps and the accurate definitions please contact AA world services or obtain a copy of the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”.**