The first twelve step program was co-created by Bill Wilson in the 1930’s as a way to help those struggling with alcoholism and that first twelve step program was, of course, Alcoholics Anonymous. This twelve step program has its roots in faith – specifically the bible. When Bill Wilson was asked where the ideas came from to form A.A, he answered that all of the ideas came from just one source, “The Pioneers’ study of the bible”.
While at the heart of the twelve steps there is an element of faith – of asking a “power greater than ourselves to restore us to sanity” – there is freedom in coming to God without pressure to believe certain dogmas, theology, or any specific religion. Those who use a faith-based twelve step program feel that “letting-go” and trusting a higher power through prayer and meditation brings about the healing process in new ways.
Scientific evidence tells us that prayer and meditation are both very good to bring about relaxation and that both can counteract many of life’s stressors and pressures. So for those who are comfortable with faith as a part of recovery, the twelve step program remains one of the best options to choose.
In fact, twelve step programs now can be found not just for the alcoholic, but for addictions of many kinds as well as dysfunctional behaviors.
What are the benefits of using a 12 step program?
The great thing about participating in a twelve step program is that because it has been used for decades, there will be counselors, participants, and others who are available nearby who understand the program you will be going through and can support you. This is true wherever you go and if you change therapy settings or even if you move to another city.
Using a twelve step program is also a way to be guided through the recovery process at your own pace. Everyone will progress differently and that is part of what makes a twelve step program appealing. There is not a set schedule – some steps will be more challenging and that, too, varies per person.
The important thing is to take the first step and start the process of finding the right program for you.
“I have seen hundreds of families set their feet in the path that really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible domestic situations righted; feuds and bitterness of all sorts wiped out. I have seen men come out of asylums and resume a vital place in the lives of their families and communities. Business and professional men have regained their standing. There is scarcely any form of trouble and misery which has not been overcome among us.” –Bill Wilson co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous