12-step programs such as AA have been around a long time and helped a lot of people get sober. However, in the years since AA started, there have been many advances in the field of addiction recovery. We now have many evidence-based treatments to help people get sober and stay sober. Some of these include motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications such as antidepressants, methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and disulfiram. With all of these new evidence-based treatments becoming more widely available every year, are there still advantages to participating in a 12-step program? For many people there are and they include the following.
They provide a sober community.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of going to 12-step meetings is they provide a ready-made sober community. A strong sober network is one of the best predictors of a successful recovery and it’s also one of the biggest challenges people face when they start recovery. Most of their old friends still use drugs and alcohol and it’s often hard to meet new people. Going to 12-step meetings provides social contact with others who share your sobriety goals and are often willing to help you out when you feel stressed or tempted.
Another advantage of 12-step meetings is that they’re everywhere. Nearly every city and town has at least one 12-step meeting. This removes a major excuse for not participating and even makes participating extremely convenient. In many cities, there is probably a meeting within walking distance, making it easy to incorporate into your day.
They help you stay committed to recovery.
Going to a regular meeting is a good way to keep renewing your commitment to recovery. Just as people go to church every week to be reminded of their values and beliefs and see their fellow parishioners, going to a 12-step meeting regularly reminds you of the many hard-earned lessons you’ve learned in recovery and reminds you why working hard to stay sober is so important.
They provide structure.
It’s not good to have too much unstructured time early in recovery. Boredom and isolation often lead to cravings. Having somewhere to be at a regular time and seeing others who support your recovery gives some structure to your day and keeps you grounded.
They’re a chance to help others.
12-step meetings are also an opportunity to be of service. Volunteering, even in a small way improves your self-esteem and sense of gratitude. It helps you get outside your own head, forget your own problems, and focus on helping others instead.
Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.