The 12-Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous was a groundbreaking social development that was way ahead of its time.  Founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith managed to create a program of recovery that tens of millions of people around the world have used as a foundation to achieving a rewarding life of sobriety.  These recovered people describe their experience with this program as giving them a life better than they had ever imagine – in fact being “rocketed into the 4th dimension,” a phrase which perhaps can only be understood by someone who has risen from the hopeless depths of addiction to a fulfilling life in recovery.

Addiction, Co-Dependency, and Denial is at the Root of Most Objections To A.A.

Yet many people remain suspicious of the 12-Step Program.  Particularly, those who are struggling with addiction themselves have been known to dismiss the meetings as “not for them.” They will focus on the uncomfortable feelings they have around getting honest and being a part of this new community. The references to “God”, the prayers, and the friendly curiosity they encounter will be excuses provided for why they won’t participate in the program.

Often, spouses will be compliant in this attitude because deep down, they may be fearful that their loved one will change or find something in this new community that they will be excluded from. At the root of it, denial and co-dependency are often driving the objections many people have to Alcoholics Anonymous.  If you want to read a more clinical look at the objections people have to A.A. (and why they should get over them) check out the article: “Is A.A. The Only Way?

A.A. Provides Honesty & Accountability

When someone gets involved in A.A., they are going to have to get a sponsor (eventually), and they are going to have to get honest. This sponsor-sponsee relationship is crucial to the person’s recovery, as they will be working through some therapeutic processes that are linchpins of the 12-Step Program, such as writing a moral inventory and making amends to those who have been wronged.

The flip side of this honesty and accountability is that the recovering individual will be frequently rewarded for their continued abstinence by being given “chips” on certain milestones (such as 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 month, 9 months, and a major celebration for their “birthday” after a year).  The self esteem that comes along with behaving ethically and achieving sobriety will cause their personal and professional development to be greatly enhanced, and their relationship with others will be markedly improved.

A.A. is a Confidential Setting

Every 12-Step meeting starts with a strong reminder that “what you hear here, stays here.” And the A.A. community takes privacy of its members very seriously.  Along with this confidentiality comes the security of being able to fully participate honestly and not fear public reprisal at a later time.

Community of Recovering People

Those who resist participation in the 12-Step program of A.A. are often very surprised to find out when they finally go that everyone who is involved has similar stories to their own.  The secrets and shame the newcomer brings into the rooms of A.A. will often pale in comparison to many of the stories that they hear when others are sharing their “experience, strength, and hope.”  This is a huge relief to the newcomer as is the freedom to share their own story in a safe and non-judgmental setting.

There is a saying that “you are only as sick as your secrets,” and opening up to a sponsor about your past experiences is credited as a very healing part of the 12-Step program by many who have gone through it.

Helping Others

Members of 12-Step Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are encouraged to “work with others.” It’s part of the culture of the support network, and in fact, many members credit this ongoing work as being the most important part of their program of recovery.

Founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob originally met when a newly sober Bill Wilson was facing extreme cravings for a drink while on a business trip in Akron, Ohio. In desperation, he called a random church from the church directory and was put in touch with Dr. Bob, a well liked surgeon who was struggling with alcoholism. This initial meeting led to the long term sobriety of both men and eventually the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Worldwide Availability of a Consistent Program

One of the great things about Alcoholics Anonymous is how widely available it is.  Those who go to residential treatment for their addiction and get a foothold of sobriety will often eventually want to return home, travel, or relocate to a new geographic area.  No matter where they go, they will find 12-Step meetings happening and they will be based on the exact same literature, steps, and protocols they are used to. Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide organization that strives to make sure the network of meetings provides a consistent experience no matter where they can be found.

Getting 12-Step Treatment for an Addiction to Drugs or Alcohol

Beach City Treatment is here to help if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol.  Our clinical process incorporates individual counseling and many more therapeutic activities and processes than 12-Step participation, but we require participation in the program of A.A. and emphasize to our clients that it is a great foundation for long term recovery. Call us for more info at (877)228-2401.