Up until the 1930s, it was very difficult for people struggling with alcoholism or addiction to recover. When Alcoholics Anonymous first came around, it was amazing to see how people who considered themselves hopeless were now staying sober. Many people hear about AA meetings, but long-term recovery often comes from the 12 steps of AA. When AA first started, the success rate was at about 85%, so it’s important to understand that these steps work.
Understanding the AA Program
The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs revolve around meetings, but these are only one piece of the puzzle. There are many sayings in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, and one is that meeting makers make it. While it’s true that meetings are a crucial part of staying sober in 12-step programs, there’s more to it. The symbol of Alcoholics Anonymous is a triangle, and it has the three primary principles of AA:
- Unity – The meetings and fellowship of AA
- Service – Helping others
- Recovery – The 12 Steps of AA
Spirituality Versus Religion
Many people who are in active addiction may get the wrong idea of Alcoholics Anonymous because of the spirituality component. One of the most important things to understand about AA is that it’s a spiritual program, not a religious one.
If you’re on the fence about the program, don’t let the word “God” steer you away from it. Alcoholics Anonymous clearly says that this refers to a higher power of your understanding, which can be anything. Some people use their sponsor, the rooms of AA, the universe or nature as a higher power. One of the best things you can do is pick up an Alcoholics Anonymous book and read the chapter “We Agnostics,” to better understand how spirituality through AA works.
The 12 Steps of AA
Addiction treatment centers often back the 12 steps because of the high success rate for people that work them. The first step is the most important one, and it’s about surrendering to the fact that you have an alcohol addiction. Steps two and three are about learning how to see that your thinking and your actions are what keep you sick. Step four is one step that people often worry about the most because it requires you to take a good hard look at yourself.
Although step four may be difficult for some people, the following steps are where you begin to feel a sense of freedom. As you continue the steps, you begin to feel better, and you eventually make amends to those you harmed. The last three steps are about maintaining your sobriety and helping others who may struggle with addiction. There’s nothing more beneficial to your recovery than taking what you’ve learned and sharing it with others.
Silver Pines Treatment Center is an addiction facility that can teach you more about staying sober and working various 12 step programs. Call us today at 267.719.8689 to begin your first step towards addiction recovery.