Self Improvement

The 12 Step Program

Sometimes it seems as if there is a 12-step program for everything. What started as a method of helping alcoholics deal with their addiction has expanded to help those who are addicted to gambling, shopping, eating, drugs, stealing, lying, sex and more.
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Why is 12-step recovery so successful for so many things? First, it approaches dependence from the perspective of something to be overcome and managed through support rather than something to be eliminated. It acknowledges that when it comes to alcohol, a drug, a behavior or any other self-destructive pattern, the person dealing with it will never eliminate it entirely. The 12 steps typically focus on learning to stay clean and sober through things like attendance at a self-help group, spiritual study, and other strategies of managing temptation and addiction.

What can you do if you think you would benefit from a 12-step program? The first aa 12 step and most important thing is to get connected with an appropriate group. This is an extremely difficult step for many people because it means admitting you have a problem and asking others for help. Not an easy thing to do in a world where we are constantly being told to be self-reliant, self-sufficient, and strong!

Some people are especially fearful of facing their addiction when they live in a small community where anonymity is difficult to maintain. There is no easy answer for this, other than reminding yourself that others have felt the same way and they have succeeded despite their fears. Even in the smallest of towns there exist 12-step programs that flourish and thrive due to the commitment and confidentiality practiced by their participants.

Helping Others

What happens when it is someone else you know who would benefit from a 12-step program? How do you get a friend, colleague, peer or family member to face their problem, whatever it may be? You can suggest, you can encourage, you can take them to a meeting and stay by their side, but ultimately they have to take on the challenge themselves. You can help yourself deal with the situation by participating in one of the many 12-step programs designed for family and friends of those with addictions. It can be a difficult adjustment at first to learn how not to blame yourself or take responsibility for someone elseís problems, but donít let yourself fall into that trap.

Sober Living

In families with unhealthy traditions of alcoholism, substance abuse, or other addictions, participation in a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous or AA, Narcotics Anonymous or NA, Alanon, Alateen, and others can seem like a precious gift that literally saves lives. If you are a member of such a family, you will be astounded at the difference you can create in your life when you attend a program specific to your needs. You can learn how to work through all of the feelings, thoughts, behaviors and other issues that have seemed overwhelming for so long. With time, effort, and commitment you can discover why so many people feel so much gratitude for the existence of 12-step programs.

There is no doubt that the advent of 12-step programs led to sweeping changes in how addiction is viewed and treated. Such programs have saved lives, changed lives, and improved lives across the globe. Whether you live with addiction yourself or know someone else who does, take a look at 12-step programs near you as a way to take back control of your life and start living a healthier pattern.

For further information about 12 Step recovery, visit the Alcoholics Anonymous web site.

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