The 12 steps and traditions are a tried and true standard of care in addiction treatment. Since its grassroots beginnings in the early 1900s, the focus of 12-step treatment has been on providing patients in recovery from drug and alcohol dependence with:
- A group without leaders
- Peer support
- A focus on integrity, honesty, accountability, and serving others
- Safe and anonymous support
Twelve-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and others are designed to provide people who are trying to live a clean and sober life with nonjudgmental support from others who have been where they are. It is not an addiction treatment program unto itself. However, many patients feel comfortable choosing a treatment program that incorporates 12-step meetings and 12-step principles into its philosophy and spirit because they are familiar with the message and focus. All of our Constellation Behavioral Health rehabilitation centers include 12-step meetings in their program options and offer patients the opportunity to “work the steps” and begin their growth through the 12-step program during addiction treatment.
Structure and Spirituality
The 12-step philosophy of post-addiction behavior is very black and white: no drinking, no drug use, rigorous honesty, and a constant drive to identify and serve the needs of others over one’s own desires while always prioritizing emotional health and abstinence. Should the patient come up against difficulties, stressors, or extreme emotions that may threaten their sobriety, they are encouraged to discuss it with their sponsor and continue to “work the steps,” which means to follow the dictates of each of the 12 steps under the guidance of a sponsor.
Additionally, 12-step participants are encouraged to seek solace and guidance from their “higher power” in whatever form that may take. Even those who have no religious history or preference are invited to benefit from any kind of prayer and meditation that allows them to get in touch with their authentic self.
Many patients respond well to the structure of regular meetings and work provided by 12-step recovery. Hard work in recovery is rewarded publicly with sobriety “birthday” chips, and no excuses are made for “slips” or relapses of any kind. Within this structure, many patients find the freedom and strength that will aid them in moving forward in their new life without drugs and alcohol.
Easing the Transition
A primary benefit of including 12-step meetings in the treatment plan schedule is the opportunity it offers patients to transition smoothly from the protected rehab environment to their home.
Often patients will feel unstable after leaving drug rehab. Used to the protected, drug-free treatment center environment, they feel uncomfortable around those who can drink “normally” and are often unsure how to behave. The stress of acting “normal” and the pressure of building an entirely new life for themselves can trigger a relapse if there is no support or intervention, but a 12-step group that is similar to the ones they attended in treatment can provide a sense of balance and normalcy in an otherwise unfamiliar experience.
Well-Rounded Addiction Treatment
Patients benefit from addiction treatment programs that include a wide range of traditional and alternative therapy and treatment options, and none are more traditional than 12-step meetings. Some of our patients choose to base their personalized treatment plan on the 12 steps and traditions while others feel more comfortable utilizing more holistic options. With a variety of treatment options to choose from, including 12-step recovery, Constellation Behavioral Health ensures each patient a unique and well-rounded treatment experience.