How Do 12-Step Programs Transform Lives?

If you’ve ever struggled with a substance use disorder or addiction, you might have heard of The Twelve Steps, a framework for healing from addiction created by the organization Alcoholics Anonymous. While this approach is typically thought of as an addiction prevention program, it also serves as a vehicle of life transformation for individuals who participate in it.

Below are a few ways participating in a 12-step program can transform your life:

1. Transform your social life

According to Magz, a Sober Courage blogger, being a member of an AA group gave her socializing opportunities that didn’t include substances:

“Being part of a 12 step program allowed me to socialize with other sober people. Most groups organize numerous events like movie nights, picnics, and dances. When you meet other sober people you will also be able to get even more ideas from them!”

2. Connect With a Higher Power

An integral part of AA’s twelve step program is connecting to your spiritual side, whether it be by connecting with God, a Higher Power, Nature, etc. Some individuals don’t like this aspect of AA because they aren’t religious or spiritual. Scroll to the bottom of this article if you’d like to read more about non AA resources.

3. See a Reduction in Substance Use

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, individuals with substance use disorders who participate in 12-step programs tend to experience lower levels of relapse than individuals with substance use disorders who do not participate in them. This success can go a long way in letting individuals know they can change their behaviors and give them the confidence to approach other life changes in the same way.

It’s important to remember 12-step programs aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK. The good news is there are other options available for those who want to participate in substance use recovery, but don’t agree with all the tenets of AA’s program. Check out this great resource for locating non-AA support groups and resources for substance use disorders.

Unsplash photo via Eye for Ebony

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