Winning Tactics for 12 Step Recovery
Addiction treatment and 12 step recovery are natural allies. At our inner core, we are uniquely defined and yet, when a substance dependency gains its power over us, we become quite similar in behaviors, characteristics, and conflicting interests that create chaos in our general wellbeing and the lives of those around us.
Many people are unable to recover from alcoholism or drug addiction without help and active engagement in a 12 step recovery program. According to the SAMHSA, “For this reason, most effective treatment programs make attendance at AA or another 12‐Step program a mandatory part of the treatment process.” The following are some winning tactics for 12 step recovery.
Make a Plan
Yes, it is possible to quit using alcohol or other substances without help if you are an occasional abuser and have not acquired the myriad of problems, negativity, emotions, or attitudes that perpetuate ongoing substance abuse behaviors. These individuals, however, are few and far between. It’s not enough to detox from the substances and let willpower to refrain from them be the only recovery goal. Because there is much more that needs to be addressed, those who try this will be the first of many to relapse.
The real challenges start once you leave the safety and enforced sobriety environment of an addiction rehab facility. It may be easy to think you are smart enough to make the right choices while you are there, but, and unless you learn to recognize your strengths and vulnerabilities, develop strategic plans to cope with your addiction in the real world, and stay motivated in your recovery efforts, the long term prospects are not so fortunate.
Go To Meetings
Going to meetings on a regular basis is a big part of 12 step recovery that emphasizes the rewarding and therapeutic forces of affiliation, sharing, learning, support, accountability, and service to achieve and maintain abstinence.
As a mode to healing in a non-judgmental, easily accessible, highly informational, and mutually-affirmative way, 12 step recovery meetings are open to anyone looking for help with their problems of addiction and while abstinence is a primary topic, there are no absolute requirements.
Build a Positive Support Network
You are not the alone in the many problems that substance abuse and dependency brings and although you may be in a crisis that you feel like it implies to no one else but you, in a 12 step recovery program, you’ll find others exploring the same avenues and seeking the same type of treatment goals including dealing with losses, dysfunctional families, and other addiction problems, finding comfort, guidance, and support.
Ideally, involving family members and close associates who can encourage your sobriety and support your efforts is the best options, but, often, these relationships are damaged or beyond repair. That’s where the relationships you build in a 12 step recovery program can fill the void. According to the NIDA, 12 step recovery groups “offer an added layer of community-level social support to help people in recovery with abstinence and other healthy lifestyle goals.”
Surrender to a Higher Power
The 12-step recovery programs advocate making amends where possible and surrendering past mistakes and your recovery over to a Higher Power. Although this is a spiritual concept in nature, it is not a matter of religion and is highly personal to each individual.
Getting in touch with your inner being is crucial to 12 step recovery. Physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual balances are integrated to make you everything you are. Denying or accepting one without the other is a self-defeating problem that many addicts in recovery choose to ignore and which eventually leads them back into the same thorns of their lives they tried to recover from in the beginning.
Be Honest with Your Self and Others
Honesty takes precedence and goes deep into the 12 step recovery process. It builds self-esteem, relief, and hope as you analyze and reassert what is really most valuable to you and where issues such as pain, guilt, or shame did nothing more than promote ongoing negativity. Being honest with others opens up channels of communication, trust, and the accountability you need in order to make the most progress in your 12 step recovery.
Reach Out to Change
If you are struggling with substance abuse problems, now, is not the time to assert your personal freedoms. It’s a time to gain as much knowledge, insight, and support from others as possible. If you continue on in your current state without positive and healthy lifestyle changes, before you know it, your willpower, identity, and self-control can become nothing more than a placated memory.
No one is perfect and your recovery will be a process of growth. In the mean time, finding peace and serenity to accept it and focus on positive change is crucial. Those who are able to reach out to others and ask for help to aid them in recovery are able to more fully embrace the issues at hand and discover the pathways to change as they follow the 12 step recovery principles.