Can you Cure Addiction Using the 12 Steps?
Grappling with an addiction is hard work. The more that it grows, the more preoccupied you become with it, the more it takes over your reality, and the more you find yourself facing negative consequences in every aspect of your life. It is probably one of the worst feelings you have ever had to endure.
It is natural that you would look for an answer, a cure, a way to break the cycle of addiction. And, given the success rate and the popularity of the 12 step process, it is a perfect place to look to for answers. But, can you actually use the 12 steps to cure addiction?
The answer—you may be surprised to learn—is that the 12 steps can’t cure addiction. However, that isn’t because there is anything wrong with them. In fact, they are the key to long-term recovery for many people. The issue is that addiction is a disease that cannot be permanently cured. No method will eliminate it from your life entirely. But, the 12 steps can treat your addiction and enable you to manage it for the rest of your life.
If you are ready to address your addiction and make positive changes, a 12 step program will guide you and support you throughout the process. To learn more about the role a 12 step program plays in treating addiction, contact 12Step.com at 800-653-7143 today.
This following discussion aims to explain the difference between curing and treating addiction and show you the 12 steps in action and the change they can facilitate. You should finish reading this with a strengthened positivity about what the 12 steps truly offer you.
Addiction: Cure v. Treatment
Firstly, it is important to really understand addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines it “as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” The section you need to focus on right now is “chronic, relapsing brain disease.”
Think about other chronic diseases: heart disease, arthritis, stroke, epilepsy. These diseases do not have a cure. People who experience them, instead, look for treatments that alleviate discomfort and make symptoms manageable. They also make life changes to minimize the impact that the disease has upon their life. Addiction is another type of chronic disease and it also relies on these methods, rather than on a cure.
The lack of cure isn’t a reason to lose hope. Epileptics and arthritic individuals don’t stop living and succumb to the disease. They make the effort to combat the disease with the best methods available. You have the same strength in you and you have the power to seek a powerful, effective disease management method: a 12 step program.
The 12 Steps in Action
Once you look at a 12 step program as a method of addiction treatment, you need to understand what makes the program work. What are the core components of this method?
The American Psychological Association, summarizes the process as follows:
- Admitting you cannot control your addiction
- Accepting a higher power that can give you strength during the process
- Examining past errors with the assistance of an experienced member, referred to as a sponsor
- Making amends for your errors
- Re-learning how to live your life with a new code of behavior
- Aiding others who grapple with the same addiction
You will notice that each bullet point begins with a verb, an action word. A 12 step program is founded in action. The process relies on series of step that allow you to work through your treatment by achieving and repeating goals. Every time you get to step 12, you return to step one and begin again. At no point, does the treatment stop supporting you in your efforts.
According to an article in the Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment, several studies indicate that the active 12 step treatment works. Results demonstrate:
- Participants who attended meetings more often in a 3-month period after treatment were more likely to maintain their abstinence during that time.
- More frequent attendance in the initial 3 months after structured drug treatment had an increased likelihood of abstinence and fewer drug/alcohol related consequences in the following 3 months.
- Participants in inpatient care who attended a 12 step meeting at least once a week had more reductions in substance use and more abstinent days than those who attended less frequently or not at all.
The program is an effective treatment. Although it may not be a cure, it allows you to actively participate in your own recovery and to manage the symptoms of your chronic disease. It’s time for you to get the support you deserve; call 800-653-7143 and speak to someone who can answer your questions and direct you to a 12 step program.