For Many People, 12-Step Programs Provide Hope, Emotional Support and Guidance

Twelve step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), have become a core part of American recovery as we’ve discovered just how powerful these steps can truly be. These types of program certainly have a more religious/spiritual component to them, and while this type of approach doesn’t work for everyone, others have found immense success with it. Having been around for almost 84 years now, over 2 million people attend AA and other 12-step programs in order to add structure, meaning and support to their recovery journey. These types of programs really focus on giving up our control to a Higher Power and taking responsibility for our faults. Ultimately, 12-step programs can guide individuals to a path of stronger faith and purpose – but it’s all based on a person’s individual experience.

A few years ago, a doctoral student and colleagues from Dickinson College explored young adults’ views on 12-step programs. Adolescent research has been a main focus of addiction recovery, but young adults (between the ages of 18 and 28) hold a significant percentage of people in need of help, too.

Despite saying that they were often the youngest in the room, participants noted several benefits they’ve found in 12-step programs:

  • Being able to relate to stories of other members
  • Finding inspiration and support from people in the group who have been abstinent for long periods of time
  • The program gives people hope that sobriety is possible
  • Hearing specific examples of how their lives would improve if they maintained sobriety was helpful in visualizing a brighter future
  • Being reminded of the consequences of substance abuse through group discussions
  • Sharing personal experiences and learning from others, too
  • And more

Personal experiences certainly give a lot of testimony to the efficacy of a program, and there are a lot of people who have benefitted from 12-step programs in particular. Being around others you can relate to is uplifting, especially since a common belief is that we’re the “only ones” going through a particular issue. In general, 12-step programs can give you the chance to find your away amongst others, with guidance from people who have gone through the same steps you’re about to go through. Ultimately, the right path for recovery is one that sits well with you – and by immersing yourself in the program, you can discover for yourself if this is something that could really transform your life.

Cumberland Heights in Chattanooga is a 12-step based outpatient alcohol and drug addiction program. Our Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals 18 and above who may be in the early stages of addiction and alcoholism, or who are experiencing issues with drugs or alcohol. We offer both personalized assessments and flexible treatment hours to suit your needs. If you’re ready to take that first step towards your recovery journey, call us today for more information at 423-308-0689.