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Free, independent and confidential advice from a clinician on the 12 STEPS (AA)
What are the 12 steps?
The 12 steps are the fundamentals of recovery fellowships that are found within organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous, to name but a few. Nearly all rehab centers have a foundation around the 12 step principles though some offer a model based on SMART recovery, or an eclectic mix of the two.
What is the history of the 12 steps?
The 12 step approach emanated from the USA nearly one hundred years ago in 1935 and drew it's influences from fellowships centered on spirituality. The emphasis is around the premise that once someone has become sober they then have the capacity to help someone else in the same situation.
To put it simply, the ethos of AA is that when an alcoholic becomes sober they can pass on the story of their recovery and how they found sobriety through the help of the fellowship.
Thus the steps are a progressive chain of commitments and understandings which stem from the founders:
1) That the individual is powerless over alcohol and that their life had become unmanageable because of it.
2) A realization that a power, greater than the individual, could restore sanity
3) A decision to turn over the will of the individual and their life to the care of a supreme being, however that person understands that being to be
4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of the individual
5) Admitting to a higher power,as well as to oneself, and others, the exact nature of their wrongs
6) Accept and be open to have a higher power remove those defects of character
7) Ask the higher power to remove these shortcomings
8) Make an inventory of all the persons the individual has harmed and be willing to make amends to all of them
9) Contact these people, directly, and make amends but only if it is appropriate to do so
10) Continue to take a personal inventory and when shortcoming are identified: acknowledge them
11) Sought through prayer, or meditation, to improve ones conscious contact with a higher power as the individual understands that higher power to be and asking for help to carry out making amends
12) Spread the word to others in the same situation
Those new to the 12 steps are not forced or coerced to either accept them or to follow them if they do not feel able to do so.
Is a 12 step approach an abstinence based method?
YES! The 12 step method is entirely an abstinence based approach that firmly believes that alcoholism is a progressive disease and that, only through total abstinence, can recovery be achieved.
What is the difference between AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA)?
In essence, not that much. All three use the twelve steps though NA and CA play less emphasis on a higher power. However, the basic premise is the same.
I am not religious or I do not believe in a higher power, can I still use the 12 steps?
YES! Do not be put off by the use of the wording about a higher power. It is about believing there are other forces in the world greater than that of the individual. All are welcome, the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking/taking drugs.
Any one of the fellowships are wholly focused on wanting to welcome in anyone who seeks support. The central thrust is that someone in recovery can help someone who has just joined. There are no membership fees and some offer gender specific meetings as well as exclusive ones for LGGBTQQIA++ people.
How are the 12 steps used in a treatment centre?
Where centers are 12 step based the opening and closing meeting of the day will be 12 step based where there will be readings from the text of AA and NA (the "big book") also, staff who are in recovery themselves, will , during a group meeting, "share" their personal story and recovery journey. Sometimes, this is facilitated by someone from a local fellowship. Throughout the period in treatment, clients will work, in a progressive way, along the 12 steps. It is not expected to achieve all 12 while in treatment, unless that person is able to fund a very lengthy admission. Instead, by linking in with a local fellowship.
Nearly all centers provide a minimum of a years aftercare where former residents are invited, usually on a Saturday ( either remotely or in person)_ to join a fellowship meeting at the centre.
If you, or a loved one, wants to explore treatment within a 12 step centre, or a SMART/eclectic based centre, call Paul to discuss.
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