What is Twelve Step Therapy?

As someone who practices a twelve step recovery program daily, and works in the field of helping others find recovery from their addictions, this is a common question that I get asked. Twelve steps is a process of change. Someone who follows the Twelve Step process is shown the ability to quieten their own thoughts, to be forgiving and compassionate to others. To be selfless and to have gratitude for the simplest of things. To feel worthy of love and able to help others. All things that are truly alien to someone suffering from alcoholism or addiction. Everyone’s experience of the Twelve Step process is slightly different and very individual to them. My experience is that anyone who is open to the Twelve Step process has the ability to change for the better, and in doing so overcome their desires and compulsions.

One common misconception is that twelve step is a religious based recovery program. Many alcoholics and addicts facing death and destruction from addiction reject the twelve step program as a solution, due to preconceived ideas that they have to become religious in order for it to work. Personally, that is not my experience, and whilst it is true that some in recovery do turn to religion, it is not a requirement or even the norm.

I can only share how it is for me, but there is one fact that cannot be denied, and that is the fact that twelve step has saved millions of alcoholics and addicts from death, and that the original twelve Step program of recovery has been around for hundreds of years and is used worldwide.

My own personal experience of twelve steps was that it added to me as a person; it took nothing away from me. It gave me a much needed way of processing and changing my own destructive and negative thought patterns. Thought patterns that led me to substance abuse, depression, anxiety and low self-worth. It helped free me from the endless cycle and misery of addiction and compulsion. It helped me to believe in myself and to see the truth in any given situation. Something that before twelve steps was shown to me I was completely incapable of doing. I learned through practicing the twelve step program to be loving, compassionate and forgiving to myself and to others. I connected to a different way of thinking and was able to consider others feelings as a result of my actions. I was also able to accept others as they are without having the want or need to change them. This gave me the much needed power over my addictions. I personally do not follow any religion, but am open minded to those that do. My conception of what God is is very personal to me and I try to follow my conscious and to practice a spiritual way of life the best I can. Today I am not my thoughts, and therefore have no reason or desire to suppress them with a drug or drink. Twelve Steps helped to free me from addiction as well as countless others, so isn’t it worth keeping an open mind, and perhaps giving it a try. After all what have you got to lose?

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