12 Steps is designed to help people in recovery abstain from substances. In both Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), participants focus their recovery by working through the 12 Steps of recovery. Acceptance, surrender, and active participation are the program’s core philosophies, which if followed, can help an addict achieve long-lasting sobriety.
Since its creation around the 1930’s, 12 Step programs have become increasingly popular in response to the rise in drug and alcohol addiction. The recovery system has a positive reputation due to its legacy, recognition by centers and medical professionals, and frequent use by people looking to break addiction.
Because of its popularity, 12 Step programs has become available at numerous locations and the program is free to attend by anyone. Its openness and acceptance can be encouraging for those who are hesitant to join. While its common use is connected to its popularity and success rates, there are still other recovery alternatives that may be a better fit for their unique needs, such as SMART Recovery or individualized therapy. However, anyone in recovery can benefit from attending and trying 12 Steps.
Participants in a 12 Step program often work with a sponsor, who is at a later and more controlled stage in their own recovery. A sponsor serves as a coach who provides specialized support, especially in times of crisis (like during a moment that may trigger a relapse). They help guide the recovering abuser as he or she works through the 12 Steps.
The central characterizations of 12 Steps are personal accountability, honesty, awareness, humility, abstinence, and forging a connection with a bigger force (like a higher power). The practical steps and wisdom help combat a potential relapse. Its methodology combines mind, body, and spiritual elements. The multi-dimensional approach constantly informs recovering addicts of the ways addiction can redevelop.
In meetings, participants share, discuss, and understand inner facets of the root causes of their addiction and in others. It is this awareness that helps recovering substance abusers to abstain. Once people become cognizant of the reasons that led them to drugs or alcohol, they can then begin to make changes in the best interest of their health.
The Transition to Living Sober
Addiction is a chemical and physical dependency, and recovery is continuous. The ultimate goal for any recovering substance abuser is to maintain their sobriety. However, without medical support and intervention it can be an arduous journey due to side effects, addiction urges, and social cues and triggers.
While there are long-term treatment programs, the majority of treatment and detox programs occur within a short window (often four to six weeks). While the effects of drugs or alcohol may be gone from the system, it can be hard to break the dependency without post-treatment help, like sober housing and a recovery community.
Prior to leaving primary treatment and detox, medical professionals or counselors will discuss post-treatment options. Sober living is highly encouraged by many addiction specialists, as relapse is common.
Sober living provides support services for people who are transitioning back to life in the regular world. While many recovering addicts should choose sober living, for certain people it may be a necessity for their health or safety. Sober living is especially important if their addiction has already caused irreversible health damages or if they have had trouble with the law and were at risk for institutional placement or jail.
Sober living environments exist nationwide in a variety of settings. There are many options to provide the healthiest fit for everyone. Sober living residences can be self-supporting homes, townhouses, apartment complexes, luxurious compounds, or they can exist in secluded communities. They may be in city or country locales. However, the common element, despite their differences in offerings, is that they require substance free living for every person.
Through numerous studies, sober living has shown that they provide higher rates of sobriety than other post-treatment options. Residential life helps recovering addicts adjust through accountability, required meetings, and therapy. Many facilities offer numerous support outlets like in-house therapists, group activities, scheduled therapy, 24/7 staff members, peer support, wellness activities, and transportation to 12 Step meetings. They do everything in their power to increase the odds for a successful, relapse-free recovery.
For a large majority of sober living homes, therapy and a 12 Step program are strongly encouraged, if not required. Additionally, post-treatment life has strict rules. Visitor restrictions or bans (in certain cases), curfews, lights out, and house participation (chores or activities), are a part of sober living. The non-negotiable rules provide structure and minimizes outside influences. The path towards sobriety needs enforced boundaries and guidelines.
Relapse opportunities linger in stressful moments, turbulent surroundings, and in random triggering memories. Solitude and idleness can be particularly problematic for a recovering addict. However, sober living stops those factors from finding a way in. Support systems like fellow peers, house staff, and therapists trained in drug and alcohol counseling surround residents. Additionally, many recovery residences pair up residents with roommates during their stay. These strategic measures aim to prevent addiction urges from gaining ground.
Sober living is a multifaceted recovery center, which includes various guidelines, therapies, and methods for healing. 12 Steps is a program, which is strongly encouraged and central to recovery and sobriety. Many sober living homes require that residents attend meetings regularly as a requirement to stay (though this may vary). A 12 Step program assesses all facets of living: spirituality, relationships, and personal history, in addition to mental, physical, and emotional stability.
Recovery programs (like sober living and 12 Steps) aim to eradicate substance abuse, maintain sobriety, and improve life functioning and the quality of life. Addiction from drugs or alcohol requires healing in order to make changes within an individual’s mind, body, and spirit. 12 Steps, sober housing, and a recovery community can provide guidance and assistance in all these areas.