The fundamentals of the 12 Steps include: abstinence from alcohol or drugs, an honest appraisal of how these substances have affected your life and a desire to maintain long-term sobriety.
Abbeycare works with the basic principles that underpin this self-help programme to encourage a substance free lifestyle and continuation on a new path.
The 12 Steps have been designed to ‘change’ the relationship with drugs and alcohol they are the catalyst to this change.
How the 12 Steps fit into the Abbeycare Programme
The first step of the 12 Step programme asks for self-honesty from the participant. This honest evaluation identifies that the dependence on alcohol or drugs has become an uphill battle. A battle which is never won.
In short, the use of substances problematic to health can-not be managed or taken in safety. The use of said substances creates a mental and physical dependence and a constant sensation of craving. This craving can never be satisfied.
Whether taken daily or in a binge, thoughts of using these drugs never leaves and a negative cycle occurs that may last for many years.
But there is a solution.
The first step is to be break the negative and progressive cycle of addiction.
This negative cycle can be broken by an ‘acceptance’ that alcohol and other drugs cannot be consumed in safety.
The solution is abstinence from the chosen substance this process will stop the physical and mental cravings from occurring.
Step one fits seamlessly into rehabilitation at Aftercare, as once detox has been completed, the programme focusses on how to maintain a long-term cessation of the substance problematic to health.
Step One in rehab:
- Honest evaluation of the negative affects created using substance/s
- Acceptance that life under the influence of alcohol and drugs has become unbearable
- The breaking down of denial – accepting the problem can’t be controlled alone
- The substance must be permanently removed to prevent physical and mental cravings from reoccurring
The Second Step of the programme is all about connectivity. This step uses the principle of togetherness to end the loneliness of addiction.
The theory around participating with a group of like-minded people is that people are ‘no longer alone.’
They now have a group to turn to that have shared similar experiences with drugs and alcohol. Discussion is had around the problems created by substances and how to combat any thoughts of returning to them.
This connectivity to peers within the Abbeycare programme and 12 Step participants builds a support network that inspires the continuation of a sober way of living.
Step Two in rehab includes:
- Support from like-minded people
- End to loneliness and isolation
- Coping strategies that stop relapse
As part of Abbeycare’s Aftercare Programme the participant will be encouraged to attend 12 Step fellowship out-with the rehab.
Attendance at 12 Step meetings post rehab provides an ongoing support network in the local community and an opportunity to progress further through the 12 Step programme.
Particular emphasis is placed upon Step 1 and Step 2 however Step 3 is also considered. The basis of Step 3 is all about making a decision. After identifying there is a problem with substances a personal decision must be made.
The following third step questions may be considered:
- Do I want to live a life without depending on alcohol or drugs?
- Am I willing to follow the direction of my Case Manager?
- Will I attend the Aftercare programme at Abbeycare and 12 Step fellowship meetings?
If the answer to the above three questions is YES, then a decision has been made to remain substance free and follow the road to long term recovery. This decision is the basis of Step Three.
The 12 Steps and Abbeycare – A Holistic Approach
Recovery at Abbeycare is holistic i.e. a whole person approach is adopted. Consideration is given to the following three areas mind, body and emotions or feelings:
The mind – addiction can cause internal turmoil.
Accepting the problem is the use of substances, removing them, then talking in group therapy, in a safe, confidential place calms the mind.
The body – addiction can cause physical health problems, and, in most cases, detox is required.
Abstinence from substances restores the body to healthier more energised place.
Emotions and Feelings – addiction can bring about feelings of guilt, shame, anger, regret, remorse, low self-worth and self-pity. Making a decision to embrace recovery and stop using alcohol or drugs can reverse those feelings.
Steps 4 through 12 A Deeper Look
Steps 4 through 12 will be considered in the community with the assistance of a recovery Sponsor i.e. someone who has completed the 12 Steps and is still sober.
Steps 1 through 12 are known as journey of discovery.
Here is a brief outlay of Steps 4 through 12:
Step 4 & 5 - Searching inwards to account for any past troubles, discuss them and seek freedom from them.
Step 6 & 7 - Shortcomings are turned into strengths.
Step 8 & 9 - Past wrongs are made right.
Step 10 - A daily inventory becomes part of life.
Step 11 - Meditation is encouraged to calm the mind.
Step 12 - And in order to keep the inner peace, help others.
The 12 Steps and Abstinence
The only requirement for attendance at AA, CA or NA, for example, is an aspiration to stop the use of alcohol or drugs. However, the 12 Steps with the aid of a Sponsor are to be undertaken if abstinent from all addictive substances.
This element is considered fundamental to the programme as the first step requires to give up any belief that alcohol or drugs can be consumed in any portion size at any time in safety.
JFT Just For Today or ODAAT One Day at a Time
The 12 Steps adopt the terminology JFT or ODAAT.
The philosophy underpinning this relates to living in the here and now.
To live in the past cultivates an internal anger at all the missed opportunities or painful events that may have occurred whilst focusing on the use of substances.
To live in the future creates a sensation of fear for the unknown or an impending sense of doom about how hard life may be sober.
To live in the present not worrying about the future or re-feeling the past encourages internal peace. If at peace the desire to use alcohol or drugs diminishes.
Abstinence from alcohol and drugs has to be considered on a daily basis.
Spirituality and the 12 Steps
The 12 Step programme is a spiritual programme. In short, the programme is written with concern for the human spirit and its restitution to a place prior to addiction.
The reparation required to return to a place of happiness and contentment requires a thorough and in depth ‘look’ for those answers.
The intention of ‘spirituality’ within the 12 Steps is to replace human defects with spiritual principles. An example of this may be replacing ‘anger’ with ‘love.’
Spirituality – is the absence of harm to oneself or others. Spirituality is learning how-to live-in harmony with a set of positive values and morale’s.
12 Step Terminology
The following terms are connected to the 12 Steps.
Altruism – this principle promotes the continuation of 12 Step groups within local communities. The principle outlines the desire to help others without expecting anything in return.
Acceptance – known as the key to recovery. Personal acknowledgement that a problem with substance use occurs is vital to ongoing recovery.
Denial – pretending a problem does not exist or that it’s not that bad stops the personal acknowledgement required early in recovery. Denial can also be used to blame others or situations for the substance use i.e. It’s his fault…it’s her fault…if I hadn’t lost my job.
Self-honesty – rehab promotes self-honesty. Recovery needs to be based upon the truth and not lies.
Willingness – recovery requires action. Talking in groups attending self-help meetings and maintaining abstinence all require willingness.
Open-mindedness – learning a new philosophy requires an open-mind. The philosophy of total abstinence from all alcohol of drugs and connectivity to a wider group of like-minded people requires a mind receptive to new ideas.
Spiritual Principles – different principles are found throughout the 12 Steps such as: honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, acceptance, hope, faith, trust, courage, integrity, humility, love and perseverance.
Implementing these principles into a sober way of living promotes long term recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your allocated Case Manager will help you find self-help meetings in your local area. Meetings are held across the UK and beyond. Below is a list of links for these meetings (currently being held online due to COVID-19):
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
- Self-Managed and Recovery Training (SMART)
It is worth mentioning at this point the only requirement for attendance at the self-help groups mentioned above i.e. AA, CA, GA, NA, SMART is ‘a desire to stop using’ and a person using a degree of self-autonomy can still attend these.
In rehab the person will hear a lot about 12 Step self-help groups as mentioned above i.e. AA, CA, GA & NA. If attending one Aftercare group (with Abbeycare) per week a person will be encouraged to join a local support group and go as often as possible to promote long term sobriety.
12 Step groups use Sponsors to guide a person through the programme. In short, a sponsor is a person who has completed the 12 Steps and has good sobriety.
SMART Recovery groups do not require a person to have a sponsor.
The 12 Steps are known as spiritual in nature not religious. Although the word God is used many times throughout the 12 Step Programme it is not a religious programme and follows no organised religion.
The 12 Steps use ‘a power greater than’ as a concept, when considering the word God, a perception of ‘a power greater’ immediately springs to mind.
Members who regularly present as Atheist can choose any ‘power greater’ than oneself and replace that word with the word God.
Also, the use of Acronyms is encouraged when considering God such as; Get Off Drink, Get Off Drugs or Good Orderly Direction.
The 12 Steps are designed to be all inclusive reaching all who attend regardless of personal beliefs.
Family members are concerned at all times for the well-being of their loved ones. Entering into a rehab programme can be an uncertain time for all.
At the Family Support Group held within Abbeycare loved ones are informed about the benefits of community-based recovery and how the 12 Steps can help promote long term sobriety.
It has been identified that the 12 Steps utilise a number of different treatment modalities such as: CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, MI Motivational Interviewing and Peer Led.
When facilitating groups, the trained professionals will draw upon the similarities in each model.
Abbeycare is a research led facility that utilises the best levels of care and support when delivering a rehab programme.
The 12 Steps are a tried and tested model of recovery that has links to many other treatment models and when used in combination have been shown to deliver unprecedented results.
Recovery is possible for anybody from any background or walk or life.
If you visualise yourself free from alcohol and drugs living a happy and productive life?
And wish to learn more about our Addiction Treatment or 12 Step rehabilitation programmes call our free 24/7 Helpline on 01603 513 091 or fill out the form below to speak to a trained addiction counsellor.