Twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have been used by millions of people around the world. Self-help groups provide an excellent opportunity to build support and hear the experiences of others who have gone through similar paths, but what does it look like to attend 12-step programs long term? Do people find success? After all, even once a formal treatment program is over, it’s beneficial to maintain recovery by attending these types of programs. Let’s take a look at some of the projections based on recent studies.
In 2015, researchers from California explored the relationship between 12-step attendance and abstinence. A total of 194 participants were involved in the study, and researchers assessed their progress at the 1, 5, 7 and 9-year intervals of attending these programs. Ultimately, they found that the greater the attendance and participation in 12-step programs during the 1st year of recovery, the greater the chances of abstinence at the 5-year mark. Researchers found that both men and women who attended these self-help groups found that it was easier for them to maintain abstinence in the long run. On one of their primary websites, members share their success stories with AA. Here is an excerpt from one of them: “I first joined the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous when I was 21. I am now 28 and almost 6 years sober, one day at a time.”
In this person’s story, they talk about how they started off in AA feeling broken and alone. They looked around the room at their first meeting and felt out of place. They didn’t feel like the meeting would do anything for them, but they decided to try it out anyways. Once they saw what it was really like, they talked about how scary but real it all was. Sometimes it takes getting out of your comfort zone to place you in a position to transform your entire life – and for this person, it did.
Everyone has their own path to take both in life and in recovery. Twelve step programs do offer a more religious/spiritual component, but it’s often said that addiction affects the mind, body and spirit as a whole. See for yourself if this type of program works for you – you never know, you may find yourself sponsoring someone else as a leader later on down the road.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.
Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.