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If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, you may be looking for a program that will help you recover. You’ll find several options for addiction recovery, including 12 step programs.

The 12 steps are part of a process that helps the person begin a new life. As you learn about the main goal of these programs, it can help you decide if this path is the right one for your recovery.


Phases of 12 Step Programs

Stop the Addictive Behavior. A woman holding her hand out. Depiction of first stages of the twelve step program.
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For the first phase of these programs, the focus is to stop the addictive behavior. The addictive behavior is usually drinking alcohol or taking drugs. The second phase is to attend the meetings, followed by asking for help.

At this point, you move into the fourth phase, which is to get a sponsor who will help you continue to refrain from addictive behavior.

The fifth and sixth phases include joining a meeting and being active. This may mean contributing to conversations or helping someone else as a sponsor.

While the 12 step program has several phases, they also include four goals that they strive to provide for those in attendance:

A Safe Place for Recovering Users

Part of the main goal of these programs is to provide a safe place for people who want to begin recovery.

The meetings are designed to be supportive, allowing people to talk about their addictions without being judged. These programs keep no records and don’t ask for information beyond a name. You get to decide how much you want to reveal in your own time.

A Place to Connect With Others

Connect With Others
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The original 12 steps were established on the idea of having regular meetings where people who are in various stages of recovery come together. People who attend these meetings understand the challenges of maintaining sobriety.

They can support visitors and new members because they have been through similar experiences.

Visitors won’t feel pressure to share until they’re comfortable enough and ready to speak up. Meetings include people from all walks of life, but they all share the desire to overcome addictions.

A Place To Encourage Long-term Success

Another aspect of the main goal of the 12 step program is helping people achieve long-term success. This happens because meetings are free to attend for life. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been sober for a week or ten years.

You can still find a meeting to attend to help you through a difficult time. Each member is paired with a sponsor, someone who has been sober for a length of time. They can call on their sponsor when they feel the urge to use drugs or drink.

This ongoing support sets members up for success for the rest of their lives because they always have someone to reach out to who understands what they’re going through.

A Place To Build Positive Experiences

A group of friends having fun together. Depiction of a positive environment as one of the stages of twelve step program.
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These 12 step programs also focus on celebrating positive behavior changes. They cheer you through recovery by noting how long you’ve been sober.

In certain 12 step meetings, you may receive a token for each milestone you achieve in your recovery. Members may receive new tokens for each year of their recovery.

Other members will celebrate with you when you’re able to maintain your sobriety in difficult circumstances. This may include attending a wedding or other event where alcohol is served.

It could mean dealing with a difficult circumstance and not turning to alcohol or drugs, such as with the death of a loved one or divorce. Some of these programs will have a celebration during a regular meeting for all the milestones during that time.

Members learn how to celebrate and have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol and with others who share similar circumstances.

Find a Place That Uses 12 Steps for Recovery

12 Steps for Recovery. A fully recovered person spreading his arms while looking at the sky.
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If you’re ready to take the next step to overcome addiction, you can find a place that provides the support you need. You may discover that a 12 step program is right for you.

Search for one of these meetings near where you live or attend an online event as part of your recovery. Finding the right 12 step meeting place may be pivotal in your journey towards recovery.