Many people tend to relate religion to 12-Step programs. While religion may factor into some, these programs are much more spiritual than they are religious.
12-Step programs involve surrendering and admitting your powerlessness over your addiction and your need for external help. Although there have been many misconceptions regarding 12-Step programs, they can be beneficial to long-term recovery.
The effectiveness of 12-Step programs for your recovery is dependent on your attitude and personal views on the program of your choice. Common misconceptions regarding 12-Step programs can affect your attitude toward recovery and should be properly researched before forming any conclusions.
What Are the Twelve Steps?
Admitting your lack of control over alcohol or substances by acknowledging that it has made life unmanageable is the first step in 12-Step programs. The following phases involve making a shift, yielding to a superior force, and conducting an unbiased and introspective moral inventory. Making a list of the people your alcoholism has caused you to wrong and trying your best to make amends are also milestones in the process.
The History of 12-Step Programs
12-Step programs are known to contribute to successful long-term recovery. These programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), offer mutual support and are made up of individuals who share common struggles and needs for help. In such programs, individuals collectively support each other to eliminate unwanted behaviors.
Alcoholics Anonymous was the first 12-Step program and was started by a group of individuals who were dependent on alcohol use at a time when little or no resources were available for people in need of assistance. During this time, the lack of professional involvement caused some to reject 12-Step organizations because they were seen as a competition to formal treatment and criticized as unprofessional.
Since then, 12-Step groups have generally been incorporated into the majority of formal treatment models, becoming fairly standardized and mainstream. Research has shown that addiction is a chronic, relapse-prone disorder that requires ongoing support. 12-Step groups offer ongoing support, and meetings are now widely available and free of charge.
Additionally, 12-Step-focused professional treatment programs connect their clients with such free mutual-help groups, which helps to reduce overall healthcare expenses without sacrificing results.
Inconsistency in 12-Step Program Attendance
Due to the stigma surrounding substance use and addiction, there is also a stigma surrounding participation in substance abuse treatment services. 12-Step meeting attendance is typically voluntary, causing personal beliefs and attitudes to play a major role in attendance.
According to a study by Substance Use and Misuse, more than half of participants agreed that the religious component of 12-Step programs is a hurdle for them. Although the spiritual aspect of 12-Step programs may be the strongest point of resistance for most people, it is not the only one. Some people refuse to participate in these programs because they believe their drinking or substance use problem is “not that bad.”
They also steer away from these programs because of other people who have participated in them and eventually relapsed. While these concerns may not be legitimate and can be constituted as excuses to refuse help, some professionals believe there is a risk that individuals will become dependent on the group and may be negatively influenced.
Religion Misconceptions in 12-Step Programs
There is a common misconception that 12-Step programs are religious and reinforce helplessness and powerlessness. However, the words powerless and helpless are meant to indicate that changing addictive behaviors is not impossible but instead challenging without the help of others. This means that admitting powerlessness over addiction is to accept it as an illness that cannot be controlled alone. The article also mentions that believing in God or religion is not a requirement for 12-Step programs.
Spero Recovery Center and 12-Step Program
Spero Recovery Center offers a residential program for men and women. During recovery, clients find sponsors and meet up with them regularly to work through their Twelve Steps.
Clients are required to stay on-site for a minimum of 30 days and can extend their time up to 90 days. Peer assistance and peer-led counseling at Spero Recovery Center show visitors how to rehabilitate in the present.
The Spero plan is intended to assist a person in navigating life in early recovery outside of the program. A plan can keep people motivated and moving forward in their recovery.
After completing residential programming, clients should continue to work through Step Nine, have a working knowledge of a 12-Step program, and be accountable to a sponsor and community for their recovery journey. The choice to enter a sober living facility is always an option at treatment centers like Spero Recovery Center. We also address any need for outside assistance, evaluate visitors for any clinical requirements, and link them to a therapist or other off-site service.
It is a common misconception that 12-Step programs require religious views to pursue recovery. While there can be religion involved, 12-Step programs are spiritually focused and do not focus on a specific religion. There are also various 12-Step programs to choose from that can help guide you toward recovery. Twelve-Step programs involve admitting your powerlessness over your addiction and your need for help from others. The effectiveness of a 12-Step program is reliant on the attitude of the individual pursuing long-term recovery. Treatment centers such as Spero offer residential treatment, which includes a sponsor and a 12-Step program during and after treatment. For more information, contact Spero at (303) 351-7888.