12 Reasons To Get Into Recovery
There are countless reasons why 12 step recovery programs work - for those who work it.
Many people try one or two meetings and leave. But those who have the courage to keep coming back find amazing support for addiction related hurts. No other groups offer reliable and free support quite like 12 step. If you have doubts, read my blog on 12 Step Myths.
Now let's talk about the benefits!
1. Unconditional support
12 step programs offer incredible support simply because members want to give back. They remember what it feels like to be new. Direct advice is discouraged. No one will tell you to leave your partner because the program gives you the tools to decide for yourself - when you are ready.
2. Tools for any problem
The tools learned in 12 step programs can help any problem. For instance, if you are struggling with depression, relationships or work, recognizing powerlessness is often the first step towards a solution. Other principles like acceptance, honesty and surrender show how to keep things in perspective.
3. It's a safe haven
When you've had an argument or received bad news, a meeting provides a safe place to go. When you feel like no one understands your pain, someone in a meeting usually gets it!
There have been many times I've gone to meetings and heard someone with my same issue. Immediately you feel less alone. That connection is hard to replicate.
4. Get (or keep) your serenity
If you grew up with addiction, abuse or dysfunctional behaviors, serenity was probably hard to come by. Instead you felt anxious or learned to avoid conflict. The program models how to be in the moment and enjoy what is.
5. Grow at your own pace
In 12 step programs you set the pace. You come and go as you please. Some people are super committed to work the steps and dive in while others aren't ready yet - and there is room for both!
6. No Strict rules or fees
12 step programs do have expenses but there are no required fees. Newcomers are asked not to contribute because the primary aim is to help people who are suffering.
Also, there are no strict rules or authority figures. You can take what you like and leave the rest. Groups are run by volunteers who do service and rotate positions as needed.
7. Build your tribe
This is probably the most significant benefit to 12 step groups. When you are hurting, there is often a sense of isolation. Finding like-minded people who have experience the same problems makes life much more manageable!
8. Find a spiritual connection
You may have had a negative experience with religion or maybe you're an atheist. Either way you are welcomed. Some even develop a new concept of a higher power.
9. A sponsor who guides you
A sponsor is someone you works with you one on one and guides you through the program. They are members that have some recovery. It is suggested that you look for someone who has what you want - whether it's a great attitude, a gentleness or a similar situation.
10. Learn acceptance and tolerance
People come to 12 step programs because they are struggling with their own behavior or someone else's. The program teaches that acceptance and tolerance happens when we learn how to detach from what is going on outside and focus more on ourselves.
11. Amazing crisis support
Because there are meetings everyday in most places (even on major holidays), when a crisis hits you can get support instantly. Members also encourage phone calls for a way to stay connected between meetings.
12. Be loved until you can love yourself
People come to 12 step programs because they are in pain. Learning how to love yourself through addiction and difficult behavior takes time. By feeling the support of other members, you will eventually learn how to love yourself and heal the parts of you that you dislike.
For more information on 12 step programs check out my resource page.