Tag Archives: Narcotics Anonymous

Tag Archives: Narcotics Anonymous


Woman making the most out of her 12-Step Program

12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have skyrocketed over the years as more people are finding the true realm of support and guidance that can be offered here. If you’re just starting our recovery journey– or have recently made the decision to begin attending 12-Step programs – it’s important to consider what type of commitment you need to make in order to reap the most benefits for your mental, physical and spiritual health.

Anyone can attend 12-Step meetings, but what are the differences that separate those who go on to build incredibly fulfilling lives, versus those who remain stuck in old, negative behavioral patterns? By learning more about what you can expect – and what it takes to succeed – you’ll be that much more confident in putting your best foot forward in recovery.

12-Step Expectations

12-Step programs began as the foundation for guiding those in addiction recovery to lead more fulfilled, spiritual lives. These programs haven’t been altered from an alternative societal concern – they’re based specifically for these conditions. The 12-Steps as a whole   meant to address the spiritual implications of addiction – the part of recovery that’s often hard for science and medicine to address in clear, distinctive ways.

The 12-Steps themselves are straight-forward, yet difficult to implement at times. The following is a quick breakdown of each step, put simply:

  1. Honesty – admitting that we have a problem
  2. Faith that a Higher Power can help us
  3. Choosing to surrender to something bigger than ourselves
  4. Beginning to discover oneself
  5. Building integrity
  6. Accepting character defects
  7. Humility by accepting the need for a Higher Power
  8. Willingness to make amends
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Maintenance
  11. Understanding a Higher Power
  12. Serving others

The first step, for instance, requires that those in recovery admit they’re powerlessness over their addiction – and in doing that, individuals admit that the basis of humanity: that nobody’s perfect and that we simply can’t control everything, even if we’d like to. Writer Mike Sturm wrote for Medium last year that it’s about dedicating yourself something greater – a greater purpose through God or another Higher Power that helps those in recovery find the strength to push through in recovery. He stated,

“If you are self-centered, self-serving and self-involved, the odds of actually becoming a better person are pretty low. Rather, devoting yourself to service – serving someone or something bigger than just your own desires – not only will the rewards be greater, but the motivation will be more persistent.”

A problem that many people face in 12-Step programs, however, is the continuation of participation. It’s a common myth that attending only one meeting every now and then will still lead a person to reach many benefits in recovery; the reality, however, is that the amount of effort and persistence a person places on their 12-Step program dictates how much they gain from it altogether.

Tips for Success in 12-Step Programs

If you’re ready to make the most of the program, consider the following steps:

  • Never miss a meeting (if you can help it)
  • Always participate in discussions, even if you don’t feel like it
  • Get to know other people in your program
  • Learn more about your potential sponsor before officially asking them – and once you do, create expectations and guidelines for how the relationship will work
  • Attend 12-Step retreats, social gatherings and service projects when possible
  • “Work” the 12-Steps outside of the program
  • Rely on your peers and recovery leader if you have doubts, concerns or questions regarding whatever step you’re working on
  • Understand that there’s no “quick fix” in recovery – it takes a lifetime of dedication for a person to fully embrace abstinence and mental, physical and spiritual health in life; however, there does come a point in time when stability and maintenance can be reached

Integrating the 12-Steps into Your Program

Previous studies have shown that 12-Step programs work incredibly well alongside official treatment programs; the social support, group discussions and added resources tend to lend well to the more formal component of treatment. As Henry Ford once stated,

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

If you’d like to become involved in 12-Step programs alongside receiving high-quality care from a healthcare team at Cumberland Heights, speak with a professional today.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program located in Kingston Springs that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998

Gaining spirituality in 12-Step Programs12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can not only provide structure and support to a person’s treatment program, but they can also strengthen a person’s sense of spirituality.

This has a direct effect on a person’s sense of self-worth, their purpose in life, how they connect to others and so much more.

A 2015 study published in the journal Religion & Addiction explained that 12-Step programs help build upon six different facets of spirituality:

  1. Release – for many people in addiction recovery, there’s an intense need to control the thoughts and emotions that we’re experiencing when everything seems out of place. We lean towards substances because we believe that is the only way we can drown out the pain – 12-Step programs emphasize the fact that we have to leave everything up to a Higher Power, because we’re simply not strong enough to hold the weight of the world.
  2. Gratitude – when we’re caught in a cycle of pain, we lose everything that we’ve gained. Through 12-Step programs, we’re reminded that there are so many forces working for us – we just have to embrace and recognize them.
  3. Humility – one person shared their story of humility through the 12-Step program via a UK-based website. He stated,

“I started to make real friends and started to gain a belief in myself that I had never felt before. I started to understand that I couldn’t do this alone and realized that as long as I was humble enough to ask for help…I could actually do this.”

  1. Tolerance – because we’re human, we’re always going to come across painful emotions. 12-Step programs reiterate the importance of learning to tolerate these moments of discomfortability by relying on social support and a Higher Power to guide us through.
  2. Forgiveness – with the 12-Step program, those in recovery not only ask for forgiveness from others, but work towards forgiving themselves, too.
  3. Sense of Being at Home – one of the most foundational components of spirituality is feeling a sense of being at home – of fitting in with this world and having a sense of purpose. 12-Step programs help others rediscover themselves through community and faith.

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.

How 12-Step programs offer social supportSocial support is one of the most influential aspects of recovery, and previous research has proven this. A 2015 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology highlighted that addiction recovery is a process of social identity change in and of itself; as a person moves from viewing themselves as “one with addiction” to “one in recovery”, their social networks change – and this social support only reinforces the recovery goals they’re working towards. Support, structure and guidance are vital components to healing, and 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) foster these aspects.

There’s always been a shared sense of community for those in 12-Step programs, not just because of the layout itself but also because the discussions are centered around topics that everyone in attendance can truly relate to. In 2017, a person shared their own experience with this community via The Fix. The stated,

“…12-Step programs work for me when I stick with people who commit to the full program…The skills I’ve learned in 12-Step groups by doing the steps and learning the traditions are valuable everywhere. I’ve rebuilt my support group.”

In 2016, researchers from the New York University School of Medicine highlighted that peer support – such as those found in 12-Step groups – can have a significant impact on those in recovery by sharing knowledge and experiences, coping strategies, and offering understanding. Recovery leaders in 12-Step programs are individuals who’ve gone through the steps themselves – and have been working them for quite some time. This type of guidance, along with having peers who are also working towards recovery – only strengthens the sense of community that those hoping to build strength truly need.

If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery today, contact Cumberland Heights for information on treatment programs and support through 12-Step programs. While recovery may seem daunting, you’re not alone – and that’s what building a recovery community is all about.

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.


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