The 12 Step Program
and Traditions of AA

For a person in early alcoholism recovery and addiction recovery, a 12 step program can be a life saver. Most drug and alcohol treatment centers around the country are based on 12 step programs and encourage people to attend 12 step meetings once they complete treatment. There are a number of treatment facilities that don’t consider themselves a 12 step rehab, but they are harder to find.

When I completed my time in rehab and was ready to come home, the first thing I did was attend alcoholics anonymous meetings. For me, having a 12 step recovery program is extremely important in maintaining my sobriety.

What I’ve also noticed is that a 12 step program is not just about maintaining sobriety. It has not only kept me clean and sober, but it has changed my whole life in many ways:

- I have gotten reassurance from having a place to go and meet people who are in a similar situation as I am.

- Meetings allow me to get insight into my own life.

- Meetings allow me to help other people.

- I have made  new friends through 12 step recovery programs.

- I have learned that there is a lot more to life than my own problems and my own accomplishments.

Some of the most basic 12-step-program history discusses using service as a way to get out of ourselves and help other people. By helping others, we also help ourselves and are able to get another 24 hours of sobriety.

I know not everyone subscribes to the ideas of a 12 step program for addiction, but I would urge people to keep an open mind. A lot of people feel as though 12 step programs are cult-like, or they think you have to be religious to attend 12 step meetings. I certainly respect each individual's opinion, and I realize that 12 step meetings are not for everyone, but I also realize that there are some misconceptions regarding 12 step recovery programs.

There are countless people who do not believe in a traditional God who still find 12 step meetings very beneficial. I don’t know that I necessarily believe in ‘God,’ but the truth is, I don’t really think it matters. "As we understood Him" is truly the statement that fits my beliefs, as well as the beliefs of those I share my meetings with most often. 'God' in AA is a term to signify a higher power of any kind, no matter what that power feels like for each person.

I am able to go to a 12 step meeting and find the good in every meeting. Sometimes I find a meeting incredibly inspiring, and sometimes I leave the meeting wishing I had just stayed home and watched television. Regardless of the meeting, though, I am almost always glad I went because I am reminded of who I am and what I need to do to stay sober.

Originally proposed by AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), a 12 step program is a set of principles to follow for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems.

The first book published by AA in 1939, "The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism" is the first written occurrence of 12 step programs.

The alcoholism 12 steps have since been modified and used by many other organizations including Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous, and others. 

The 12 Step Program of
Alcoholics Anonymous

12 Traditions of
Alcoholics Anonymous

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