Addiction is a serious issue in the United States today. In fact, experts estimate that approximately one in seven people nationwide will struggle with substance abuse at some point in their lives.

Have you been struggling with addiction? Have you looked into addiction programs like Alcoholics Anonymous?

If you have, you’ve likely come across information about the 12-step program. The 12-step program can be off-putting to some at first, especially those who are non-religious. The truth, though, is that just about anyone can benefit from working through those steps.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of the 12-step program for addicts, even those who aren’t religious.

What is a 12-Step Program?

The 12-step program was originally created as part of the Alcoholics Anonymous framework to help alcoholics (and their friends and family members) recover from the effects of their addiction and experience a new way of living. Since its inception, the program has expanded and been used to help people dealing with all kinds of addiction, including addictions to other harmful substances.

Some specific steps in the program include honesty, surrender, soul-searching, acceptance, humility, and service. The idea is that, by continuing to work through these steps on an ongoing basis and placing faith in a higher power, one can overcome their addiction and live a happier, healthier, and more meaningful life.

Benefits of the Program for Non-Religious Addicts

It’s understandable that participation in a program centered around having faith in God can give certain, non-religious people pause. The benefits of the 12-step program are too numerous to ignore, though.

There’s a lot that non-religious addicts can get out of the 12-step program, even if they never come to believe in God in the traditional sense of the word. The program has been proven to be effective, in many cases, at helping addicts get and stay sober. The following are some of the reasons why it’s so effective:

Community

Part of participating in the 12-step program is attending meetings with other addicts. During these meetings, you can listen to and learn from other people’s experiences. Attending meetings helps addicts to remember that they’re not alone and gain inspiration from others who understand what they’re going through.

Structure

The program provides addicts with a very clear structure to follow. Almost anyone in recovery can benefit from structure and routine, and the program makes it very easy for them to figure out what they should be doing and what steps they can take to start improving their lives.

Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is essential to anyone who wants to get sober and stay sober.

Self-reflection and journaling are built into the 12-step program, and this step can be useful when figuring out the roots of one’s addiction and what kinds of situations trigger them. By engaging in self-reflection, addicts can get to know themselves better and avoid falling into old patterns. 

Mentorship

People who participate in the 12-step program have the opportunity to work with a sponsor or mentor who provides them with additional support and guidance. This creates a deeper sense of community than attending meetings alone and can help addicts to remain accountable while they’re on their sobriety journey.

Accessibility

The 12-step program is accessible. It’s free to attend meetings, and meetings are held worldwide. Even if you first come across the program while in a rehab or addiction recovery center, you can continue with your participation even after you’ve finished and left treatment.

Get Rid of “Terminal Uniqueness”

Many addicts suffer from “terminal uniqueness.” In essence, they believe that their situation is 100 percent unique and can’t possibly be improved by following the 12 steps. By getting rid of this belief and opening your mind, you can still reap the benefits of the program even if you don’t buy into the religious aspects.

Don’t Accept Failure

Finally, don’t accept failure. If a traditional 12-step approach doesn’t work for you, look into alternatives. If you’re participating in an addiction recovery program, inpatient or outpatient treatment, there are likely a myriad of options available to you. Explore different ones until you find something that sticks.

Learn More About the Program Today

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why the 12-step program can be beneficial to addicts regardless of their religious affiliations. The 12-step program is a key fixture in many addiction centers and addiction programs, and for good reason: because it works.

Do you want to learn more about the program? Do you need help choosing an appropriate addiction recovery program to help you move forward with your life? If so, be sure to contact us today at Healthy Life Recovery to learn more about our services.

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