What Are The 12 Steps?

The 12 Step Support Program is the most widely-used method of support during substance abuse recovery. It began in the mid-1930’s in Akron, Ohio as the guiding principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. The group’s founding members, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, were two alcoholics themselves. They struggled for years with the disease, before finding that abstinence and surrendering to a “higher power” were the best solution for them in their recovery. They then formed Alcoholics Anonymous, which is also known as AA, to share these findings with others and hopefully save more lives.

The 12 Steps

The 12 Step support began as a method to help alcoholics in their recovery, but has been proven to work with many other addictions, as well. Depending on your needs and type of support group, the words “alcohol” and “alcoholics” can be interchangeable.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

“If you work it, it works.”

One of the most commonly heard sayings within a 12 Step support group is, “if you work it, it works.” This means if you keep “working” your steps and attending group sessions, you will remain sober. Once people start to distance themselves from the steps, attending groups and becoming confident in their sobriety is when relapses can occur. In fact, 40 percent of people drop out of AA after the first few meetings, and since most relapses occur within the first 90 days of recovery, the importance of working the program is extremely important.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the longer people remain in Alcoholics Anonymous, the better their chances are of recovering without relapse. Those who attend AA for long amounts of time, such as eight years or more, have a far less chance of relapse than people who stop attending. The average time people remain in AA is much less than this, which reinforces the need to keep working the program.

Other Benefits from 12 Step Support

Aside from living a sober life and escaping the prison that your addiction has held you in, there are many other benefits that 12 Step support offers. They include:

  • A safe space to be able to share challenges, successes and experiences. You can open up to people who relate to you, who have been where you are and will not judge you. If you relapsed, or almost relapsed, you can open up and share your challenges and be met with understanding and compassion. You can also celebrate your successes, such as a sober birthday or overcoming a challenge, and be met with happiness and encouragement.
  • A sponsor to help you through recovery. When you first join AA, you will be paired with someone who has worked the steps and can help keep you on track. Since AA sponsors are also in recovery, it’s an opportunity to keep eachother on the right path, open up to each other more intimately than in a group setting and have someone to be accountable to.
  • A sober network. When going through recovery, it can be hard to spend time with friends who are not sober, as it might be triggering, especially in the early stages of recovery. Having a sober network that you can spend time with and do healthy activities with is very beneficial in recovery.
  • A prevalence. Since the 12 Step program is the most common recovery program, they are everywhere and easy to find. The likelihood of a support group being near you, wherever you are, is extremely high.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

Overcoming your substance abuse issues is possible, and we will give you all the tools you need to have a successful recovery, including 12 step support. From the second you walk in the door, we make sure you are happy, comfortable and supported in every way possible.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and a 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the serene forest environment. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com