Reasons Behind the Success of 12-Step Recovery Groups

Reasons Behind the Success of 12-Step Recovery Groups

One of the most widely recognized treatment methods for substance abuse recovery is the 12-Step model. It’s likely one of the first treatment methods mentioned by addiction specialists, beyond the more immediate medical help. With a long history of practice within the United States and beyond, 12-Step programs help thousands of people every year make meaningful connections in their community and overcome the effects of addiction.

At Enlightened Solutions, we take an open-minded approach to the 12-Step model while still holding to the philosophy’s central purpose: Namely, that the issue of addiction can become too much for one person to tackle on their own. With any treatment method provided at our facility, clients will learn about the 12-Step model and philosophy.

What the Twelve Steps Accomplish in Recovery

The Twelve Steps serve as guidelines for understanding the reasons behind addiction and understanding the limited power to control it on your own. The Twelve Steps encourage asking for help and relying on a community in order to get well. They also encourage reliance on a higher power that is not specific to any particular religion, which is the type of spirituality that Enlightened Recovery promotes.

Twelve Steps Teachings

Just what do these highly successful Twelve Steps teach, exactly? Let’s examine the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

#1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

This is one of the hardest steps to admit, either silently or out loud. However, if addiction were within our control, we wouldn’t be present at treatment in the first place.

#2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

In addition to requiring community in order to get sober, this step goes further and suggests that a higher power is needed in addition to other humans.

#3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Part of getting well means recognizing human limitations and putting our trust in that higher power.

#4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Self-awareness is another vital part of recovery. This can be taught in a group setting as well as individually with a counselor guiding the process of reflection.

#5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

In order to repair and rebuild our relationship with ourselves and with others, we must acknowledge the ways we caused harm, directly or indirectly.

#6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

We can let go of the pressure to overcome our struggles on our own and let a higher power guide us.

#7. Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings

To be human is to be valued, but also flawed. Belief in a higher power enables us to become the best possible version of ourselves – our sober, recovered selves.

#8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

As we come to terms with the extent of addiction, we begin to understand that our actions have consequences. We can’t control whether others forgive us, but we can take the necessary steps to salvage the relationships that we can.

#9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.

With this step, it’s important to acknowledge that not every relationship can be restored. In some situations, it may be best not to initiate contact with certain people from our past. The therapy setting can help us figure out when that may be necessary.

#10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Regularly “checking in” with ourselves helps us remain accountable and faithful to the goals we make in recovery.

#11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Living with addiction can make us feel aimless and lost. As we move forward in recovery, we develop a stronger purpose in life.

#12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This final step is an invitation to go out and live in recovery, sharing the lessons you learned with others.

What Makes 12-Step Programs So Successful

While the 12-Step model may not be ideal for everyone, it nonetheless enjoys a high success rate among people struggling with addiction. Part of this success is owed to the no-holds-barred approach to “inconvenient truths” – that people cannot conquer addiction on their own, and that they must do some work to improve their lives. These are not popular messages, but when shared in a therapeutic setting, they become helpful “game changers” that motivate rather than tear down.

People struggling with addiction do not need to be chastised for the choices that brought them to treatment in the first place; they do enough of that on their own. But recognizing their limitations is the first stage toward making steps in the right direction. The 12-Step model prioritizes community, abstinence, acceptance, and a commitment to self-improvement. The steps are organized in bite-sized pieces so that this improvement does not feel terribly overwhelming, and are completed with a like-minded group to encourage and support along the way.

Admitting you need help is one of the hardest parts of addiction recovery. But with the right support and encouragement, it can only get better from there. Enlightened Solutions offers holistic treatment methods, including 12-Step programs, to help people overcome the effects of substance abuse and go on to live full, healthy lives. We have had the privilege of helping many people do just that, and you can be one of them. If you're struggling with substance abuse addiction, it's okay to admit you can't do it on your own. Call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE and speak with a member of our staff to learn which treatment method is right for you. 

staying sober during quarantine

4 Tips for Staying Sober Under Quarantine

In hopes of containing the spread of covid-19, or the coronavirus, state and federal governments are asking people to stay home and avoid public gatherings. Some state and local governments have even closed restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and other public-serving businesses to help stop the spread of the virus. This can be a trying time for anyone in recovery for a number of reasons. First, it suggests that attending 12-Step meetings is probably not a good idea, especially for people over 65 and people who have frequent contact with anyone over 65. 


The virus has also closed many church services, which are an important part of many people’s recovery plans, as are other spiritual gatherings like group meditation and yoga classes. It’s also a good idea to stay away from the gym. Staff and other members frequently wipe down seats and benches but rarely disinfect bars. It can also be hard to keep appropriate distance from people who are breathing hard and grunting. In other words, some major components of most recovery plans such as fellowship and exercise will have to be modified in the coming weeks or months. Here are some tips for staying on track with your recovery during quarantine.


Connect Virtually

The good news is that we have more ways of communicating over long distances than we have at any other time in history. In fact, until a few weeks ago, one of the problems we seemed to hear the most about was that we’re all so socially alienated and we rely too much on social media and texting to stay in touch with friends and family. We’ve lost the ability to connect in person and hold a real conversation. Under the current circumstances, that would seem to be a feature rather than a bug. 


However, the fact remains that real-life connection is important for emotional health, and that’s doubly true for anyone recovering from addiction. So what are you to do if you can’t go to meetings? Ideally, your group will have already discussed the possibility of quarantine and have formed a backup plan, such as an online forum. One thing to consider is that it’s very hard to remain anonymous on online platforms like Facebook or Google Hangouts. However, AA does offer virtual meetings via Zoom and other mutual aid programs such as SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery, and LifeRing also have a large online presence, so you might take this opportunity to give those a try if you’re not already familiar with them. 


There are also a number of online communities you might stay in touch with. If you’re part of a sober Facebook group, that might be a good resource--although, again, probably not anonymous. There are several good addiction subreddits that offer both more anonymity and a larger community. These generally have a positive atmosphere and people respond quickly. 


Exercise at Home

Staying active is an important part of every recovery plan. Being quarantined at home is like some strange combination of a holiday and a sick day and you might feel tempted to just sit on the couch watching TV all-day. If anything, exercise is even more important now, since it keeps your immune system strong and helps you cope with the stress of uncertainty. 


At the moment, it’s generally considered safe to bike, walk, or run outdoors, assuming there aren’t many people around. There is less risk of contagion in open areas. Just don’t stop and chat with the neighbors, or stay at least 10 feet away if you do.


There are also plenty of ways to get a good workout without even leaving the house. There are bodyweight alternatives to lifting weights. There are even bodyweight HIIT routines that can get your heart pumping without taking up much space. These can be found online or on YouTube. If yoga is more your style, there are also tons of yoga videos on YouTube. Yoga with Adrienne is probably the most popular, but there are plenty of options to suit your taste. It may not be as good as your sweaty Bikram class, but it will keep you active and flexible. 


Use This Experience to Work With Challenging Emotions

One of the biggest challenges for many people won’t be the inconvenience, per se, but the emotions the pandemic may give rise to. It’s likely that we will all know someone who will be affected by the virus; perhaps we will even get it. The uncertainty is stressful in itself. If you have struggled with anxiety or depression in the past, this is certainly a situation that will get your mind churning. 


One way to cope is to use these challenging emotions as a sort of exercise. For example, it’s a good opportunity to practice mindfulness. It’s tempting to try to push away your anxiety about the future, to distract yourself, or tell yourself it will probably be fine but it’s also a serious situation and it’s normal to be apprehensive. Instead of pushing those feelings away, try accepting them and examining them nonjudgmentally. For example, notice where in your body you feel that anxiety--your stomach, perhaps? What thoughts are coming up? Try to notice them without getting caught up. Finally, take some time to consider that a lot of people are probably feeling the same things you are. Concern for others is often a good way to cope with our own anxieties. 


While this can be an opportunity to practice coping with challenging emotions, it’s not a good time to be skipping therapy. If you’re seeing a therapist, call and discuss ways of conducting your sessions remotely. Many people have been having their sessions over the phone, on FaceTime, or on Skype. If you’re not currently seeing a therapist but feel like you need one, you can probably find one who will work with you remotely.


Stick to Your Recovery Plan as Much as Possible

Finally, remember that you can still do a lot on your own. As noted above, you can exercise at home. You can also read about addiction and recovery, you can write, you can meditate, you can eat healthy, you can spend quality time with your family, and you can relax in whatever way works for you. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do right now, focus on what you can do. This might even be an opportunity to work on some parts of your recovery that might not otherwise get enough attention. 


With any luck, this post will have an incredibly short shelf life but at the moment, no one has any idea when life will get back to normal. In the meantime, we have to do what we can with what we have. With a little ingenuity, that can still be quite a lot. Stay safe, stay connected, and stay on track. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe that long-term recovery requires healing the mind, body, and spirit. Our programs are built on the 12-Step approach and incorporate a diversity of healing practices. To learn more, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.

The Gift of Sobriety

The Gift of Sobriety

When an alcoholic admits there is a problem, there may be an initial grieving period. Alcohol and drugs and had become a friends, confidants, and now must be taken away. As time goes on that same now recovering alcoholic might have a completely different outlook on the day they quit drinking. If an addict had reached a point of unbearable destruction in all areas in life, sobriety might be the only option. Becoming sober for the sake of a job or parents, children, boyfriends/girlfriends, and so on, doesn’t work the same as it does when the addict quits for themselves. If the alcoholic truly wants sobriety, they will be willing to do whatever it takes. Although this might seem like a daunting task, the rewards are immeasurable to anything else.

The slogan “we will love you until you love yourself” is meant for those who come into recovery with sadness and despair. Many addicts have found themselves with a variety of disorders that must now be addressed. Those with depression and anxiety will find themselves possibly growing out these as their sobriety strengthens. Those with disorders on the higher end of the spectrum will have to accept that sobriety means complying with a psychiatric diagnosis. Taking medication is just as important to staying sober, as it is to quit drinking and/or using. Often times the alcoholic will drink if they stop taking prescribed medication or if the addict decides to drink, they will likewise stop the medication. Dual-diagnosis is common and should always be taken seriously.

Once the treatment team, the alcoholics support, and the alcoholic are on the same page, the alcoholic’s journey can begin. The addict who shows complete cooperation and stays open-minded will benefit the most out of treatment. The addict that wants to live bad enough will put sobriety first. It must be well aware that the disease of addiction will kill anyone in its path. Choosing sobriety is choosing to live, choosing to be a mother or father, choosing to serve others in ways that would never happen if the addiction continued. Life is a gift, and life is beautiful. While in the disease, it’s easy to become pessimistic about all aspects of life and that is a miserable existence. The gift of sobriety is special, and those who see this, become grateful to be an addict in recovery. If there were no darkness there would no light.

Our clinical, holistic and 12 step approach at Enlightened Solutions gives addicts the opportunity to see their life in a new positive light. If you feel like you need to take your life back please don’t hesitate to call now: 833-801-5483.

Should People Share Painkiller Medication?

Living Sober

Sobriety is a new world to those who find their way into it.  Living life without substances is unimaginable to many addicts. They arrive at this life that they are unprepared for and the concept of a blank canvas comes suddenly alive.  

In the early days of recovery, living sober is often about living in opposition to the way you once lived.  It is sometimes spoken in terms of avoiding people, places and things that you used to engage with and is often said that you must change everything to find a way of living sober.  This is true for many people as their old lifestyles become triggers for their substances use by virtue of habit.  So, success in breaking the habit of addiction, often means surrendering to letting many aspects of our lives also change.  

There is a crossroads in how this level of dramatic change can be oriented to: it can be viewed as a devastating loss or it can be viewed as a creative opportunity.  Sometimes, it may be a process to shift from one perspective to another.  The truth is that living sober and change many of the significant elements of your life truly does give you a creative opportunity to re-craft your life in the image that you desire.   

In some cases, people give up certain experiences and relationships temporarily while they build the foundation of their recovery.  It is later an important part of their recovery to rejoin these elements and explore how to relate to them differently.  In other cases, some people will commit to not doing any of the activities they did in their using life, ever.  The way that addiction overtakes the lives of different individuals is vastly different, so these different expressions of sober life are all valid.  

One key practice to a successful sober life is to learn from others who have restructured their life successfully.  Find others who have a life that you would like to emulate and ask them to guide you.  Similarly, when you have arrived at this place of a truly sober life, be willing to share your experience as to make the journey more accessible to those behind you on the path.  


Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.