How Do I Approach Someone Else About 12-step Recovery?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, addicts in AA and other 12-step programs are asked by the final step to “try to carry [the group’s] message” to other addicts in order to strengthen the program and help other individuals find their way. Therefore, approaching other individuals about 12-step recovery is an important part of the process.
Approaching Someone Already in a 12-step Program
Because of the practice quoted above, it is usually likely that your inquiry will be met with understanding and care. Most individuals in AA and other 12-step programs want to help others join and are happy to answer questions about their recovery journey, as long as you are respectful when you approach them. However, some individuals may not feel that they are strong enough in their own recovery to help you. In this instance, they will likely refer you to a sponsor or another person who is farther along in the program.
Approaching Someone Who May Need 12-step Recovery
This is a much trickier situation, as it requires that you talk to someone who may not want help or who is not ready to begin their recovery. Still, there are ways of doing so.
- Be polite and respectful always. If the individual says they do not want to talk, do not push them.
- Remember how you would have wanted someone to approach you and try to be respectful of what the individual is feeling. Avoid accusatory statements.
- Focus on your experience all while explaining that theirs may be different.
- If they are not interested in the 12-step philosophy for one reason or another, it is important to be respectful. The program is not for everyone, and certain individuals may be able to receive the help they need in a different type of self-help group or another type of treatment.
- Offer your help and be friendly, but do not pry if they are unwilling to open up.
It is also very important to avoid approaching someone if they are already drunk, high, or intoxicated. This is the worst time to bring up the concept of treatment, and they will likely be at their least receptive. Instead, one of the best times is when the individual is coming down from their high and feeling remorse for their drinking or substance abuse. At this point, it is often a good time to bring up the program and to explain how helpful it has been to you.
Social Interaction is Key to 12-step Recovery
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “This group therapy model draws on the social support offered by peer discussion to help promote and sustain drug-free lifestyles.” This is part of the reason continuous social interaction is so important to the program and its members. But it is important to remember that every individual is different and they deserve to be treated with respect based on their feelings and opinions just like you do.
If you would like more advice on 12-step recovery or how to talk to others about your journey, simply call 888-905-9004. We can also help you find 12-step meetings in your neighborhood.