Many addiction treatment centers follow the 12-step program philosophy in their programs. This approach to addiction recovery involves giving individuals the tools they need to maintain their newfound sobriety for life. There are many misconceptions about the 12 step approach to recovery, and knowing the truth about this treatment option can help you make informed decisions about treatment.
What Are 12-Step Programs?
Not everyone will know what a 12-step program is, but if you say Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), it becomes clearer. AA was the first 12-step program, and it set the standards for many others that followed it. Around 1935, Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith established 12 “steps” one should take to establish and maintain recovery from alcoholism. Over time, the 12 step program became popular for treating not just alcoholism, but also other addictions and compulsive behaviors.
Today, the 12 steps apply to any substance use disorder and many other forms of addiction, as well, like gambling. Narcotics anonymous, gamblers anonymous, debtors anonymous, and food addicts in recovery anonymous are all examples of 12-step programs for different issues.
The concept goes beyond just maintaining your sobriety, though. Meetings create a support system that lasts throughout your life, and the 12 steps help you better understand yourself and your addiction. Twelve-step programs are sometimes misunderstood because what people know of them is what they have seen on TV or in movies.
Misconceptions About 12-Step Programs
Misconceptions about these programs can further the stigmas that surround addiction recovery. For example, one misconception is that the 12 steps are only for Christians. In reality, the 12-step program isn’t about religion even though they talk about a “higher power.” That power could be anything meaningful to you, even your personal strength.
Another misconception is that you have to hit rock bottom before you can recover. The truth is, people have recovered from addiction at all stages of the disease. No matter how bad things seem, it’s never too late to get help.
Some other common misconceptions include:
- 12-step meetings are boring — These meetings are about fellowship and hearing inspiring stories. The ones that connect with you could change your life.
- 12-step meetings force you to share — Not true; no one will make you share your story if you are uncomfortable. It’s okay to listen for a while, at least. Part of your treatment, though, is to talk about your experiences with drugs and alcohol.
- 12-step meetings are full of rules you have to follow — The 12 steps are principles that can guide you as your work toward recovery, which is not easy. It takes work, and these principles create a roadmap to get you there.
- By design, the 12-step philosophy makes you feel helpless — This is the least accurate of the common misconceptions. The 12-step programs are about finding your inner strength, despite being powerless against your addiction. Substance use disorder is a chronic disease, just like diabetes or hypertension. Is someone with diabetes powerless against the disease? Yes, but that just means they have to learn to accommodate it in a way the keeps them healthy.
There is a reason that 12-step programs are a cornerstone of treatment at San Antonio Recovery Center — they work.
About San Antonio Recovery Center
San Antonio Recovery Center offers a range of addiction treatment programs. Our services include:
- Detox: Our detoxification program provides a safe and comfortable environment for patients to detox from drugs and alcohol.
- Residential care: Our residential care program provides a higher level of care for patients who need 24-hour supervision and support.
- Intensive outpatient programs: Our intensive outpatient programs provide a structured treatment program for patients who cannot commit to a full-time inpatient program for various reasons.
- 90-day treatment programs: Our 90-day treatment programs provide a comprehensive approach to treatment that includes individual, group, and family therapy.
- Gender-specific services: We offer gender-specific programs and services that cater to the unique needs of men and women.
And, of course, 12-step meetings. We are an independent drug and alcohol treatment center. We offer a full spectrum of treatment and make affordability a primary goal. Our staff consists of some of the most compassionate professionals in the industry.
By offering a 90-day treatment program, we believe we are giving you the best chance at lifelong recovery. The program will start with either residential care, which is a live-in environment, or intensive outpatient services if you need more flexibility. It is possible to find shorter programs that last 30 or 60 days, but many experts believe that 90 days of treatment is necessary for recovery.