Do the 12 Steps Really Work?
Janey’s (not her real name) continued use of alcohol despite two DUIs and the threatened loss of her children to her ex-husband motivated her to consider coming to the Phoenix Recovery Center. However, she wondered what good the 12 step program would be for her. After all she had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings off and on for three years. Why would it be any different when she was at the Phoenix?
The 12 Steps and organizations such as the Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, as well as literally hundreds of other addiction 12 step programs contain the fundamental qualities of recovery. Just going to a meeting every week or even having a sponsor does not effectively support sobriety for most individuals. It would be like deciding to go on a canoe trip but never pushing off from the shore.
At the Phoenix, we immerse everyone in the adventure of the 12 steps. For example:
- We begin each day with readings regarding the steps of recovery
- Group discussions give individuals the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about applying the 12 steps in their lives
- Time is allotted for each person to reflect and write in their Phoenix 12 Step Workbook
- Group counseling constantly refers to the 12 Steps which are posted on the walls of our group rooms
- Every day we attend a meeting sponsored by a number of different 12 step groups
- Phoenix professionals demonstrate how the steps have made a difference in their lives
- In individual counseling, we ask each person to relate how the 12 steps are making a difference in how they are living
- We ask everyone to track their advancement through the steps and to be accountable for their progress
There is an old saying in Alcoholic Anonymous that states;
The 12 steps work if you work them.
For the time a person spends with the Phoenix, they not only work the 12 steps, they live them. They consider the causes of their addiction, reflect on the havoc their addiction has created, and ponder how they can use the 12 steps to rise above their addiction. They also focus on what they can do to reach out to others to support their recovery and they learn how they can connect to their community of recovery, their family, and their higher power.
Is the 12 step program by itself the only way to remain sober? As noted in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book) the 12 steps are a means for sobriety maintenance, not treatment. However, for those who really explore the river of recovery using the 12 steps, it becomes a vital framework to enjoy a lifetime of new discoveries.
Janey was amazed. After the first week of being in the Phoenix, she realized that she knew almost nothing about the 12 steps. Catching the excitement of those in the Phoenix community, she became curious to better understand what her recovery was all about. Before she knew it, she had her own adventure of discovery and could not wait to see what was waiting for her next.