The most successful forms of relapse prevention for anyone with an honest desire to stay sober are 12-step programs. There are many different 12-step programs, and sometimes it can be difficult for a person to decide which one is best for them because they do not have a full understanding of what they are about and what the difference is between all of them. Each program may have a different name and focus, but their foundation is all the same. Sometimes people feel more comfortable in certain programs, but they can essentially get help at any of them.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the original 12-step program and was founded in the 1930s. During this era, many people were suffering from addiction, but the treatment and knowledge of the disease was very limited. Most people who suffered from alcoholism or addiction were put in the hospital to help with their medical conditions that were a result of their using, but there was no real way to ensure their future abstinence from substances. Unfortunately, many people who suffered from addiction during this time would end up in jail, mental asylums, or possibly die from the disease. It was common for doctors to believe that people who suffered from chronic addiction were in a hopeless situation.
The founder of AA, Bill W., was an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. After serving in a war, he began drinking heavily and his alcoholism progressed. He went from being a successful business man, to having a life that was completely unmanageable. No matter how many jobs he lost, or how many times he acknowledged that he had a problem with alcohol, he could not quit. Bill had been hospitalized multiple times, and his doctors believed that there was no chance of him recovering from alcoholism unless he was locked up in an institution. It wasn’t until one day when one of his old friends arrived at his house and explained how he became sober did Bill see a glimpse of hope that he too could recover from this disease.
The foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous was that one alcoholic helping another was the best way to ensure the person could maintain sobriety. But they knew that before they could help other alcoholics, they had to first right all of the wrongs they had done for so long. This is when the twelve steps were created. The twelve steps are based on a spiritual, but not religious, method that gives the person a new way of living and has them make amends for anything they have done to hurt others while in their addiction. Over time, Alcoholics Anonymous went from having only a few members to millions across the world.
In the present day, there are different fellowships for just about any addiction a person can have. Some of these fellowships include the following:
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Cocaine Anonymous
- Heroin Anonymous
- Marijuana Anonymous
- Pills Anonymous
When people began to see that one alcoholic helping another alcoholic worked because they could relate to one another’s experiences, these new fellowships were created with the same idea. People with any type of addiction can go to a specific meeting where they will hear the experience, strength, and hope from others who have used the same types of drugs so that they are able to see there is hope to recover from addiction.
Treatment centers are meant to help people detox from drugs or alcohol and educate people about the disease of addiction, but 12-step programs help people stay clean once they leave the facility. If you would like more information on recovery from addiction, please call us today.