It seems like just about every other day I see an article online for either a new treatment program or an article suggesting an advanced, more modern approach to addiction recovery. However, other programs continue to advocate the model of care, which continues to guide those suffering from addiction with a course of action towards a lifetime of recovery – The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Since 1939 the literature and program of Alcoholics Anonymous has served to help millions find a solution to their problems. The following are just a few of the foundation pieces to this successful program and the reasons for its longevity in the field of addiction recovery:
1) Points to a solution – Perhaps no group of people are more ready for a solution to their problems than those who become convinced that they are dealing with a problem beyond their personal scope. Addiction impacts people at the deepest level and inevitably creates a spiritual void due to excessive searching and use of chemicals to obtain pleasure. The 12-step program points to a solution for obtaining real pleasure which is not fleeting or momentary but rather a relationship with a Power which is God.
2) Identification/Understanding – The first 43 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous are concerned primarily with understanding the illness of alcoholism (or any other addiction). Here lies countless experiences of men who were overcome with the mental and physical attributes of the illness – which readers can connect with and gain some clarity on why they have behaved as they have. Far from excusing the reader – this information is useful to identify with those who wrote the text and to consider that what worked for them, may work for the reader as well. It is a humbling offering of sharing their vulnerabilities so that others may be interested in hearing more.
3) It’s everywhere – By the mid 1950’s the program of Alcoholics Anonymous had groups in nearly every major city in the United States and beginnings made in 50 foreign countries. To this day, the metropolitan area of San Antonio hosts over 300 meetings per week. It is safe to say that this recovery program has been and is the most successfully growing and sustained resource for those affected by alcoholism and addiction. New members can join any day and for, free.
4) Freely given – The twelfth step of Alcoholics Anonymous states: “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 of our affairs.” This critical step encouraged by all who work the steps ensures that the message of recovery is shared with those who need it – with absolutely no conditions or dues. This lifesaving solution found by one who had suffered from a chronic condition, is freely given to those who need it. This is perhaps the most amazing thing about the 12-step program. The fact that one cannot keep what he does not give away. This foundation serves as the lifeline for the alcoholic in recovery, the alcoholic still suffering and the program’s sustainable future.
We have touched on only a few of the incredible pieces, which make the Twelve Steps such a valuable source of hope for those who work them. At Rise Recovery, we are humbled to be a part of continuing to share the lifeline which is the 12 steps with others seeking freedom from alcohol and drug problems. Whether teens, young adults or families, all have real, open access to this life-saving solution, working a 12-step program. Application of the spiritual principles outlined in the steps allows individuals to expel the obsession to drink, use drugs or obsess over a loved one and become happily and usefully whole. What an incredible gift! Rise Recovery is committed to ensuring our programs are always encouraging this practice and that with this – we will withstand the ups-and-downs of whatever may come, trusting that He who has brought us here will surely see us through.
– Clayton Sponhaltz, LCDC
Rise Recovery Director of Outreach & Education