Addiction Services Blog

Your Complete Guide to Understanding & Joining 12 Step Programs

Your Complete Guide to Understanding & Joining 12 Step Programs

12 step meetings are chock full of honesty, wisdom, and support. They’re perfect for recovering from the bleak world of active addiction! Popular 12 step programs include, but definitely aren’t limited to: Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Eating Disorder Anonymous (EDA), and many more. We’re lucky enough to live in a world where there’s a 12-step group for just about any type of addictive behavior. They’re anonymous, non-judgmental, loving, helpful, and a safe space to share where you’re at in your recovery. Twelve step programs usually aren’t like what you see in movies, TV, and other media. They’re magical and completely in a league of their own. Don’t worry if that sounds corny – it’s also 100% true! Twelve step meetings have helped save millions of lives from the grips of addiction. This isn’t only true for addicts who recover, but also for their friends, family, and loved ones. We all recover through 12 step groups! You can find meetings all around the world. You can find them online and on your phone with websites, apps, virtual 12 step meetings, and directions to in-person meetings. Oh, and all twelve step groups are free of charge. Read on to learn more about twelve step programs and find a meeting near you!

How Does The 12 Steps of AA Work?

If you have a problem with drugs, alcohol, or any harmful behavior, you can attend a 12 step meeting. You don’t have to identify as an alcoholic or addict right away. You can listen to people’s stories and see if you identify. It’s important to remember no one can diagnose you as having a problem when you attend these meetings. Only you have the power to admit you’re powerless over drugs, alcohol, or related behaviors. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking or using. It’s okay if you don’t 100% believe you’re an alcoholic or addict! Just having the desire to not drink or drug for one day is enough to show up and see what twelve step fellowships have to offer. You’ll see people from all walks of life attend these meetings. Women and men of all ages, occupations, races, classes, and circumstances identify as alcoholics and addicts and recover through the twelve steps of aa. 12 step groups are a great place to find support. There are a lot of people who are more than willing to talk and help you through anything. The social support is endless! The meetings are based on the Twelve Steps of recovery outlined in the particular book each fellowship uses. Although each fellowship discusses different types of addiction, the 12 steps are all based on The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The main book in Narcotics Anonymous is called The Basic Text. Cocaine Anonymous, on the other hand, uses AA’s Big Book and various other supporting literature. You’ll learn more about individual 12 step fellowships through meetings. You’ll have the opportunity to get a sponsor if you decide to go through the 12 steps of recovery.

What Twelve Step Group is Right for You?

Although each group is based on the same ideas, they also have a number of differences. You might love going to one fellowship, not identify with another, and be utterly confused by another! Each 12 step program has its own personality and flavor. Although different, each program's only goal is to help suffering addicts and alcoholics recover! Finding the right group is important because feeling comfortable in a 12 step fellowship helps make the road to recovery a bit easier. You don’t have to continue going to groups you don’t identify with. There are about a million groups for you to choose from! Test out different meetings and find which twelve step group is right for you! After you have an idea of which fellowship you’d like to attend, it’s easy to find specific meetings. Simply search “12 step meetings in my city” in Google and see what comes up! There are also pamphlets at most meetings that outline where and when different groups meet. There are even gender-specific twelve step groups! Meetings for only women or men usually make you feel more comfortable sharing in early-recovery. Test meetings out and ask members their opinions on different meetings in your area. No two meetings are alike, even within the same 12 step fellowship. You won’t know what you like until you try meetings out. Go to a few and you’ll find your perfect match, we promise.

How to Get the Most out of 12 Step Fellowships

Recovery is about action, so raise your hand and get involved! Find a list of tips to get the most out of 12 step programs below –

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The 12 Steps of AA, Breakdown Of Each Step!

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Getting sober is not only possible – it’s guaranteed as a result of working the 12 steps of AA and engaging in the recovery process. Now don’t get me wrong, no one said it’s going to be easy, but it is 100% doable for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a young heroin addict from New Jersey or an older alcoholic from California – you’re going to stay sober if you go to treatment, work the steps, and live a life based on moral principles.One thing we’ve learned here at Sober Services is that the 12 steps of AA are often overwhelming and frightening. We wanted to change this and make it easier for you to get sober, so we created a detailed breakdown of the aa steps. Read on to learn just what each one of these steps is really about!

The 12 Steps of AAStep 1: We Admitted We Were Powerless Over Our Addiction- That Our Lives Had Become Unmanageable


The first step of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is that we basically admit we have a problem with drugs or alcohol. We admit that our lives have become a mess due to our addiction. We admit we’ve created the issues that arise from our addiction.In this step, we admit we need help. The key words here are powerless and unmanageable.Powerless means that once we pick up drugs or alcohol, we’re unable to control ourselves. We’re powerless over picking up the substance again.Unmanageable means that once we pick up drugs or alcohol, we lose things in our lives. This includes our homes, our family’s trust, our careers, our education, and countless other things. We don’t have to lose everything for our lives to become unmanageable, just enough so that we can’t live a normal, effective life.The next stop on our exploration of the twelve steps simplified is…you guessed it! Step two!


Step 2: Came To Believe That A Power Greater Than Ourselves Could Restore Us To Sanity


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The 12-Steps Model: An Overview

The 12-Steps Model: An Overview

While today there are various addiction treatment models associated with the 12-steps model, most are derived in some way from the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-step program that was first developed in 1939. AA and the related Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are the most popular 12-step programs and have a decided spiritual component. These programs and other related 12-step programs typically involve the following steps that are designed to help sufferers overcome their addictions by meeting one goal at a time until the program is complete.

Step 1: Admit the Problem

As so many people can attest, their loved one's denial was one of the biggest hurdles to facing and getting treatment for their addiction. Programs like AA insist upon participants accepting that they have a problem.

Step 2: Restoration and a Higher Power

Programs like AA and NA help participants rely on a higher power to "restore them to sanity."

Step 3: Decision to Give One's Life to God

The defining aspect of step 3 emphasizes the decision to relinquish control and turn one's life over to God's care.

Step 4: Moral Inventory

Step 4 is an integral part of the recovery process as it forces addiction sufferers to revisit and define their moral identity. The investigation will necessarily focus on immoral actions versus moral beliefs.

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