Robert J. Middleton, MD
12-Step Programs for Recovery from Addictions
12-Step programs have been unchanged for 80 years and still remain the most common and effective method for promoting personal growth into a healthy state of sobriety and recovery. Although poorly understood by many, this cost free process is the gold standard for guiding people through the development of self-awareness and the available mechanisms for personal change without the drawbacks of years of intensive psychoanalysis.
12-Step programs are comprised of both the supportive "Fellowship" of other recovering persons and the "12-Steps for Recovery" from addictions.
The "12-Steps for Recovery" is a numerically outlined process for each individual to identify their own demonstrated problematic patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior. Once known, these dysfunctional patterns may be changed to healthy patterns through the recommended actions as treatment.
12-Step Meetings are most often one hour long and occur in a variety of formats, such as speaker or discussion meetings. Attendance is a positive action taken by me to support my recovery, gradually becoming familiar with people in various stages of their own recovery. I am also able to build a knowledge base by listening to the experiences of others and learning to identify the common characteristics of the disease.
A Sponsor is usually a person of the same sex in stable recovery who has completed the 12- Steps. The goal is to develop a meaningful relationship, and for the sponsor to guide me through my own 12-Step process for personal change.
Helping Others with their own recoveries, as a Sponsor or supportive member of the program, promotes maturation of my understanding of the disease of addiction and process of recovery. It also allows me to put my focus on someone besides myself and give to another person that which has been given to me. Additionally, I am able to role model the hopefulness of successful recovery.