Our 12 Step Addiction Recovery Programme at East Coast Recovery
What is a 12 Step Programme for Addiction?
The 12 Steps were created by the founders of the fellowship group Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s. Providing a suggested programme of recovery from the effects of alcoholism, a 12-step approach has continually proven to be the most effective solution in the treatment of addiction. While the original steps have been adapted over time and are now used in the treatment of a variety of different substance abuse disorders, the premise of each step remains the same.
How does a 12 Step Programme work?
It’s not uncommon for clients arriving at East Coast Recovery to have already tried a 12-step programme and decided that it doesn’t work for them. However, our team of trained professionals has an extensive understanding of the nuances of this powerful programme. The steps provide guiding principles to help facilitate a substance-free lifestyle. While based on the 12-step model, our addiction recovery programmes incorporate a range of therapies and are individually-tailored to suit each and every client.
Addiction experts will agree that an individual needs to admit to having a problem before recovery can begin. The first step of the programme deals with the denial and self-deception that accompanies addiction but it also looks at the loss of control over consumption of alcohol or drugs. It sheds light on an individual’s powerlessness over substance use and the negative impact that misuse has on every aspect of their life.
Aligning with the disease model of addiction, at East Coast Recovery we believe that moderation or sobriety cannot simply be achieved through greater willpower. Addiction shouldn’t be perceived as a moral failing but rather recognised as a chronic disease that must be treated, managed and monitored over a person’s lifetime.
The second step of the programme focuses on the concept of hope. Although an addict will have accepted that they have no control over their compulsion to consume drugs or alcohol, that lack of control doesn’t mean that recovery is impossible.
While not selfish in the moral sense, addiction is a selfish behaviour. This step explores the idea that it’s possible to gain inspiration and guidance from something outside of the self. When meeting the needs of the self is no longer the highest priority and an individual finds a source of inspiration, staying clean or sober should be easier.
Many people are unnerved by the idea of faith and the concept of a higher power. However, Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t a religious organisation and the 12-step model, as a guiding principle, doesn’t refer to God or any specific interpretation of God.
From health professionals to the innate strength of human nature, the Higher Power is something greater than the self. It’s something personal in which the individual can place their faith. Self-destructive decisions can be changed by recognising that recovery cannot be achieved alone.
The third step involves decisive action. It means surrendering the ego, believing in the Higher Power and being willing to ask for help at any stage of the recovery process. This involves sharing thoughts, asking questions and expressing gratitude.
In addition to this open dialogue, reflection is an important aspect of the third step. Processing experiences and emotions can help to create change for the better. Practicing acceptance and concentrating on what can be controlled is crucial.
This step continues to remove opportunities for denial. It demands an honest and sometimes uncomfortable look at yourself. It involves uncovering weaknesses and understanding the behaviours and attitudes that need changing as well as discovering strengths and positive traits that can be expanded upon. When an individual knows what their strengths and weaknesses are, they’re better able to make more appropriate choices.
It’s crucial to talk following an unflinching acknowledgment of the harm addicted behaviour may have caused. Tailored therapies can help relieve the torment of shame and guilt. Without this relief, old, destructive ways of coping can creep back in.
Talking helps to alleviate negative feelings and to create the freedom to move forward. Group therapy is a highly successful method in the treatment of addiction and many people are comforted by the discovery that they’re not alone in their imperfections.
Letting go of self-destructive behaviours is essential. This step can be especially difficult, as negative coping mechanisms are often habits. Many addicts will need to learn an entirely new way of interacting with the world.
Alcohol or drugs shape an addict’s world and changing that mindset takes hard work. Rather than achieving perfection, this step focuses on improvement. Person-Centred Therapy is based on the view that everyone has the capacity and desire for personal growth and change. Our therapists help clients to change and develop in their own way.
The concept of humility is key to the seventh step. An individual’s shortcomings are very often intertwined with their addiction. Being powerless in the face of an addiction can mean being equally powerless to overcome shortcomings alone. Humility enables the individual to recognise when help is required and to look to the Higher Power for that help.
To move forward, an addict needs to acknowledge the role they may have played in hurting others. Being willing to repair the damage done helps to reduce the pain and destruction that addiction causes. Equally, making amends can help ease feelings of guilt which often drive the cycle of addiction.
The ninth step requires direct contact with those who have been wronged. Asking for forgiveness, face-to-face, can be challenging. Making amends means more than just apologising; it involves trying to undo damage in a tangible way.
Reconnecting personally may not always be an option. If doing so causes embarrassment or harm, a letter may be the more appropriate course of action. Equally, some people are not willing to forgive. An addict may need to accept this fact to be able to move forward with positive intentions to behave better in future interactions with others.
The tenth step centres on continued growth and honesty. It involves living mindfully and being able to recognise triggers, behaviours and attitudes that could result in relapse. Moving forward without denial and self-deception allows the focus to remain on recovery.
The eleventh step is spiritual in nature and involves recognising the Higher Power in whatever form that takes. Many people find this challenging; particularly if they’ve shunned religion or spirituality. The key to this step is not to get hung up on the term. Speaking to the Higher Power, seeking guidance and expressing gratitude may take the form of traditional prayer but equally, it may not.
The step also requires a form of meditation; the physical and mental discipline of being still and observing. Meditation can facilitate a significant change in self-perception and world view.
The final stage of the 12 step programme revolves around supporting others who are struggling with addiction. This can provide a sense of purpose, promote accountability and enhance feelings of fellowship.
The 12-step model will not cure addiction; the principles exist to safeguard sobriety. The person in recovery should put the principles of the programme into practice in every area of their life moving forward.
What makes the 12 step programme at ECR different?
Around 90% of East Coast Recovery’s staff members have experienced addiction and recovery. This first-hand knowledge inspires empathy and encourages trust and confidence in those who are seeking help. There is no better qualification in the treatment of addiction than the experience of recovery.
Our 12 step recovery treatment ensures our clients fully understand, on a scientific level, the intricacies of their condition. With this knowledge, comes power and self-belief. Our solution integrates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Person-Centred Therapy and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy into the 12-step programme. From group to one-on-one therapy, every client’s recovery plan is tailored to ensure precisely the right support.