What we tell those in recovery is that the opposite of addiction is connection; this is what 12-Step recovery aims to achieve. Narcotics, Alcoholics and Gamblers Anonymous (NA, AA & GA) are designed to do just that – help recovering addicts connect with others in recovery as a means of social connection and interaction. Around the world, there are over 200,000 meetings in each fellowship being run by peers in recovery. They span across the city, rural areas and suburbia; with online meetings being added to accommodate those who can’t get to a meeting. Currently being used by millions of people around the world, 12-Step programs (like Foundation House) encourage people to take on a set of principles (the 12-Steps), to maintain abstinence, form bonds and then eventually help the newcomer.
Through the 12-Steps, those in addiction can learn how to cope with their addictions, to avoid triggers and learn to live a life without substances. Admitting powerless over addiction is the first step, encouraging those to surrender their self-will over to their higher power of their own understanding. It is assumed throughout the world that AA/GA/NA are purely religion based – though this isn’t the case. ‘To a God of your own understanding’ is a term used frequently in rehabilitation centres and meetings that adopt the 12-Step recovery model; and that one word is what turns people away – God. A God of your own understanding is often referred to as ‘your higher power’, but this just isn’t religion. Your higher power could be you and your sponsor, you and your peers, you and the meetings – anything that is a power greater than ourselves.
Going to a meeting can be daunting. It’s about being vulnerable and sharing your experience. Whether someone is 10 days clean or 10 years clean, you’ll tend to find commonalities between the shares – this is the cornerstone behind 12-step recovery. The ability for those who have years in recovery to connect with the newcomer is what helps drive recovery into day-by-day success.
These principles encourage those to delve deep into their own lives and discover what character defects might be prevalent and what to do to overcome them with the help of a sponsor. Discovering these defects help those in recovery to stay in recovery to further enrich their lives. Learning to communicate in a way that is appropriate and express what is going on for them without the need of mood altering substances.