I would like to preface this article by saying alcohol is a drug. Therefore, I may use the terms “alcoholism” or “addiction” interchangeably, but in the end the road to recovery is based on the same simple principles. If there is anything that is crucial for an addict seeking recovery, it is 12 step programs. Here is something which will not scare off a person struggling with a drinking habit. In the company of like-minded people who are ready to share their experience strength and hope, addicts participate in such a simple yet effective way to combat addiction: one addict helping another.
12 step programs have a life changing effect on people’s lives. You will see people come to these meetings in the worst of shapes. Often you will see them look broken and weak in spirit when they stagger in for the first time. But the transformation that occurs in the same people after they have attended only a few of these meetings is sometimes nothing short of miraculous. You will see the same people looking far more hopeful and in charge of their lives. Gone will be the feelings of self-pity and uselessness. Instead you will notice the beginning of hope and resolve on their part. Just listening to the stories of former addicts, as well as those on their way out of the addiction is an enormous source of inspiration and motivation to these people. They see their situations and their lives reflected in what the speakers say at these meetings, often mustering up the courage to turn up for a first 12 step meeting. This is the first major step in the right direction.
There are two types of meetings: open and closed. Anyone can attend open meetings, including people in the health sector, family members, or anyone interested in learning more about addiction recovery via 12 step programs. Open meetings are typically beginner meetings that have at least one speaker that tells his or her’s story and how they recovered from their addiction. Closed meetings are reserved for addicts or people with a desire to stop using or drinking. Closed meetings also may have a speaker but have more specific meeting styles such as big book meetings, where there is discussion about a part of the basic text of a particular fellowship, or step meetings, in which a step is discussed every week. This information is based on the knowledge I have about meetings in my area. Meeting styles vary widely in different countries or even different states, but thankfully, the goal is always the same – to assist in one’s addiction recovery.