Why 12 Steps
It’s indisputable. Addiction recovery experts agree AA and NA meetings are the “go to” place after rehab. If you were lucky, you were heavily exposed to one or both of these fellowships in treatment. The best treatment centers will make it a formal goal in the first 30 days to attend X number of meetings and get at least a “temporary sponsor” in AA or NA. They will strongly recommend “90 meetings in 90 days” and working the 12 steps within the first 6 months of recovery with your new sponsor. This is what the good treatment centers do.
There are also people who confuse the issue. They compare 12 step
meetings to a religion or a cult. They cite reasons of client empowerment, liberty and personal freedom as reasons not to facilitate AA or NA involvement. They ignore the medical fact that personal freedom is most in peril by being a slave to addiction. They ignore the wisdom of the experienced professionals and peer support specialists that precede them in the field. They ignore the growing body of scientific literature on the benefits of “12 step facilitation (TSF).” They ignore the personal stories of the massive numbers of people that are in long-term recovery after treatment who continue to attend AA and NA meetings for decades.
12-step facilitation is a phrase coined by researcher Lee Ann Kaskutas DrPH of Berkley . She managed to show a very strong “dose-response relationship” with 12 step participation and long-term recovery from addiction.
Look at the research findings yourself or take our word for it. It is compelling. Getting connected to 12 step recovery is as important as any other “best practice” in the recovery field. Which, by the way, TSF is a best practice.
In Tampa Florida, there is an alcohol and addiction recovery center that utilizes 12 step facilitation as a core treatment modality. BoardPrep Recovery Center knows that heavy involvement in 12 step fellowships is just as important as proper detoxification, medication, strong group therapy, a trusting bond with a good therapist and excellent family programming. If someone comes to us and says “I’ll do treatment, but listen I just don’t want to have anything to do with that AA stuff,” we will of course meet them where they are at, but be assured we will be working hard to try to get them engaged in 12 step fellowships. Not doing so would be like treating a diabetic who says “I don’t want to take insulin” and the doctor says “okay that’s fine we will just try to change your thinking about your diabetes instead!” You wouldn’t do that! You would educate and encourage the patient about the benefits of insulin, and you would keep doing that no matter what the patient said.
by John Harden LCSW, CAP, MPH, Clinical Director at BoardPrep Recovery Center, Tampa, FL