12 Steps – Meeting Preview and Tools
12 Steps meetings usually only have one requirement and that is ” a desire to stop your particular addiction”
Some groups like those that deal in sex addictions and are wishing to avoid predatorial folks will require a prescreening prior to inviting a prospective member to an actual meeting.
You can usually get the location of an appropriate 12 step meeting by calling the Alcoholics Anonymous office in any community. Simply tell them you wish to deal with your specific addiction and they will let you know which 12 step groups are available in the area.
if there is no local AA office call police station or local enmergency ward.
A call to a local community help line may provide links to other services that cost money or have their own agenda’s and would not be as effective.
Generally speaking, 12 steps meetings are either:
- Open to all people.
- Closed to members and prospective members only.
There are some other types of meetings that are aimed at specialty groups such as gay or lesbians, straight male or female groups as well. These groups often have some guidelines that make them specialty groups
All seem to offer good recovery basics and support.
The most common definition of an open meeting is one where family or friends or other interested individuals are welcome to attend. The sharing at these meeting is generally not as in depth and more on a public information basis.
The most common definition of a closed meeting is one where only folks wishing to recover from their specific addiction are welcomed.
For more information on various 12 step meetings in your community please consult your local telephone book or contact your local crisis information service.
What to expect at a 12 Step Meeting
- Addicts are expected to share their experience, strengths and hopes.
- Whining and blaming are discouraged
- Individual issues are best discussed with a sponsor.
- It is expected that the condition of anonymity be respected to provide everyone with a safe haven to recover in.
Who you see here, What you hear here, Let it stay here – is the common motto of 12 step groups
12 Step Tools
Multiple addicts are usually simply folks with addictive personalities that reach out for solace and escape from troubling or foreign situations and feelings.
Though the symptoms may seem fragmented they are merely diversified from the common mainstream 12 step recovery programs. These programs, one at a time, provide positive relief and personal growth to many more selective addicts, but may prove disillusionment to multiple addicts when they do not receive the same quality of recovery as their more singular brothers and sisters.
All 12 step recovery programs use these tools to one degree or another, we have adapted them here for people using multiple programs.
- Make A Daily Recovery Plan Detail all addictions( even socially acceptable ones), check out all medications, find 12 step programs that deal with the specifics, abstain from specific addictive behaviors.
- Attend Recovery 12 step Meetings. Source out and attend specific 12 step recovery programs that suit your specific addictions. Attend one meeting per week for minor addictions. Attend more for active and destructive addictions. Use the help offered and don’t try to gain acceptance for other addictions at non specific meetings.
- Sponsorship Source out and obtain a sponsor for each specific addiction.
- Telephone Contact your specific recovery sponsors daily. Calling in specific daily recovery plans is helpful. Make sure they are to the specific sponsor. ie; don’t call your food plan to your AA sponsor.
- Literature Read program approved literature only for each of your specific addictions. Many outside publications focus on the problem where 12 step programs focus on the solution.
- Writing All 12 step programs suggest writing out your feelings, journaling and doing written inventories. Try to keep these journals program specific will eliminate the overwhelmed feeling of rolling everything up into one big ball.
- Anonymity Many 12 step programs use the anonymity feature as an important recovery tool. Multiple addicts can use this to keep from feeling different at each program by not revealing outside program connections when they are not comfortable.
- Service Sharing your recovery with others who need it is a healing experience. Take your talents and creativity to advantage of others.
Hypnotherapy is sometimes a great tool for recovering addicts.
12 Step Critics
Sad to say, 12 step critics are usually folks who are not ready to deal with their own addictions. While it is true that 12 step programs have a few failings often they are the addicts only chance to attain a clean and sober state.
In the 29 years I have been involved in recovery I have seen many folks who could not obtain any amount of the humility that is required to start to recover. These folks usually became resentful and critical at the members who did achieve recovery.
The 12 step critics are always welcomed back to their respective programs should they wish to return.
12 Steps Failures
The statistics for attaining good solid recovery and lasting sobriety at a 12 step program are not high. 12 steps failures often have hidden addictions to self produced drugs like adrenalin and endorphins, common in eating disorders, sex addicts, compulsive gamblers and criminal activity addictions.
An objective look is needed to find the secondary addictions if good recovery is desired.
About one person in every ten will do fairly well. The rest are not failures they are just possibly not ready to deal with their demons.
Just as most news today is bad news, the good news is that one in ten do achieve some recovery!
12 Steps role in Resolving Dissociation
Dissociation is a state of acute mental de-compensation in which certain thoughts, emotions, sensations, and/or memories are compartmentalized because they are too overwhelming for the conscious mind to integrate. This subconscious strategy for managing powerful negative emotions is sometimes referred to as “splitting”, as these thoughts, emotions, sensations, and/or memories are “split off” from the integrated ego.
Dissociation’s role as a defensive mechanism employed in response to psychological trauma.
Considered dissociation an initially effective defense mechanism that protects the individual psychologically from the impact of overwhelming traumatic events, a habitual tendency to dissociate would likely be a marker of a more pronounced addictive personality.
Attention to dissociation as a clinical feature has been growing in recent years as knowledge of post-traumatic stress disorder increased, due to interest in dissociative identity disorder and the multiple personality controversy.
In 12 step programs members are shown how to identify their dissociations and take responsibility for their actions and behaviors.
12 Step Fallacy
The fallacy is usually that: The 12 steps do not work – which of course is true!
if the participant is unwilling to believe in the concept and put their own work into their own process. The 12 steps are simply tools that the individual has the option to use if they wish.
It would also be true to say that a pile of saws and hammers don’t work. Until a carpenter picks them up they do absolutely nothing.
Use your 12 step tools! It works if YOU Work It!
The Dean of Addictionz
Working the Solution with Multiple and Addicts of all types
- 36 Years Personal Recovery Experience in several Self Help Programs
- Addiction Recovery Outreach Trustee, NW Region Webmaster, Newsletter Editor and contributer for various Recovery Associations Publications
- Published in several major recovery publications: AA Grapevine, Al-Anon Forum, Overeaters Anonymous “Voices of Recovery” and “Lifeline”, Gamblers Anonymous “Bulletin” &”Toastmaster” Magazine
- This AddictionZ.com website is featured in Melody Beattie’s current “Codependent no More Workbook”
- Over 45 years successful contracting business experience working with over 2000 employees and Penitentery halfway house temporary staff.
- Sponsoring many recovering multiple addicts with long term good results
- Recovery weekend workshop leader in Western Canada & US Pacific NW
- Author “You Can’t Unscrew Somebody Workbook” for relationship makeovers
- Author “Sex Inventory Workbook” for sex issues
- Author “Drunk Driving Workbook” for safety
- Author “Breaking The Cycle of Gambling Addiction” arrest the money drain!
- Author “Breaking the Cycle of Compulsive Overeating” get healthy!
Here is a thought!
Why don’t you book your sober recovery style vacation with us in beautiful downtown Victoria BC Canada at our Gingerbread Cottage Bed and Breakfast. Over the years we have had lots of therapists, recovering addicts and health professionals stay at our idyllic B&B steps from the Salish Sea. Oh and we have gourmet breakfasts too! Vanessa makes a fantastic Austrian Apple Strudel! see more on our B&B website…
Please leave your comments below, and I will be sure to answer them. If you want one of the publications but truly cannot afford it leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send you a free one…
This website is about recovery – not making money – but it wouldn’t hurt to pay a few web hosting charges if you decided to visit one of the sponsors ads… I have kept outside ads to a minumum so its not so frustrating to read. Hate those pages with an ad between every paragraph.
Have a great One Day at a Time! Dean 🙂