Saturday, May 16, 2009

12-step programs and "after-care" plans...

12-step programs: what do you think? While there are still many roads that lead to "Rome," let's face it: the 12-step programs have as good a track record, or better, than many professional programs. I've been thinking about what they provide, which seems to be everything from:

  • Hope. Seeing others who are successfully dealing with their addiction means that recovery is possible.
  • A non-judgmental support system.
  • Feedback. "Two heads are better than one, providing they're not on the same set of shoulders."
  • A spiritual foundation. Since addiction is fueled by a lack of meaning an purpose in life, the spiritual aspect of self-help programs can be an antidote.
  • A chance to help others. Contact with beginners in the program is an great reminder of our continual vulnerability. and helping others gives our lives a greater sense of meaning.
  • A sense of belonging. Since isolation fosters addiction, this is another antidote.
  • A new framework for looking at the problem. By admitting "powerlessness" over the compulsive drive, one paradoxically begins to regain more control through the support of the program.
  • Round-the-clock support. Where can you find a program that lets you call your counselor in the middle of the night? Self-help groups provide a telephone network 24 hours a day!
  • No time limit on help. People can continue attending self-help meetings for as long as they wish (whereas professional treatment is usually time-limited)
  • Free of charge!
What do you think? Do you introduce your clients to 12-step programs? Are there other supports in the community that you find helpful?

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