AA, NA and other 12 steps organizations have more than 75 years of history and success, and literally tens of millions of alcoholics and addicts have gotten better through working the 12 steps.

Studies show that after drug or alcohol treatment, those people who maintain a long and intense participation in 12 steps groups have a far better than average success rate. So many have received the strength and guidance they needed to overcome their addictions, one day at a time, through the 12 steps and so they are a valid and worthwhile choice for any attempt at recovery.

They don’t work for everyone though, and if you don’t believe what they tell you, if you cannot believe in a higher power, or if you just feel uncomfortable participating in a group that some people describe as cultish, the 12 steps of AA are not going to work for you.

The four basic principles of 12 steps based organizations

1) You are an alcoholic or a drug addict, and whatever you may do; you will be for the rest of your life. You may never relapse, but you will never be able to use in moderation, and you can only hope for continued recovery. There is no cure.

2) You need to believe in a higher power, really believe. You can’t fake it, and if you can't pray to a higher power, can’t feel the guidance and strength of a higher power, then you cannot hope to get much benefit from 12 steps based programs of recovery. 12 steps are not Christian or denominational and any higher power larger than yourself can work, but you have to truly believe.

3) You've got to make things right for your past misdeeds. Lingering guilt and shame drags you back to temptations and eventually to relapse, and if you’re not willing to make a full and honest amends for your past wrongs, you cannot hope to benefit from the 12 steps.

4) You have to give back. Once you have achieved a certain length and stability of sobriety, you have to help others to also achieve their goals of sobriety.

You have to work the steps for the steps to work

12 steps recovery groups require a full and honest commitment to the steps of recovery that have helped so many before you. You can’t fake it, you can’t half believe and you can’t work some of the steps and not others. It's all or nothing, you believe or you don’t, and 12 steps either work great, or not at all.

AA, NA and other 12 steps recovery organizations are very worth a try though, and don’t let any negative perceptions that you may have about the meetings keep you from at least going and seeing for yourself if it's going to work for you. They're free, they're everywhere and they help an awful lot of people live better.

One day at a time, you can live without drugs and alcohol, and anything that you do that gets you there is worth it.

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Learn about the Christian 12 Steps