12-step groups have proven wildly effective in prestigious recovery programs such as Restore treatment centers. Why? Many people believe that the approach to addiction as a spiritual sickness is in fact one of the best ways to approach addiction. 12-step groups have long since spoken about “the God thing” first and foremost before anything else is discussed among members. This is because 12-step groups such as AA truly believe that in order to recover, addicts must at least address the notion that they might be afflicted not just physically but spiritually as well.
Understanding the Spiritual Model of Addiction
12-step groups are not churches nor do they require a belief in God in order to be welcoming to addicts. They welcome all. However, what they do believe is that in order for an addict to truly heal from addiction on a long-term basis, they must continually address the idea that the addict is not in control of their life. A power greater than themselves is in control. This brings in the discussion of spiritual matters.
If you’re wondering why Restore is so successful, this is one of the many reasons. Restore heavily believes in the approach of 12-step groups in working with addicts. It’s the notion that addicts don’t use drugs and alcoholics don’t use alcohol only because they like the feeling or because of any kind of abuse in their past, but because they are lacking a spiritual weapon against addiction that so many non-addicts have readily at their disposal.
Addiction in these meetings is described as “Cunning, baffling, and powerful,” and that’s exactly what addiction is. Addicts will often try every other single thing they can think of to quit before they crawl into a 12-step meeting and admit that they’re all out of answers. It’s then that veterans of 12-step meetings will share the good news: There IS an answer.
How God Plays a Part in AA and NA Meetings
The term “God” can refer to any number of things. This is one of the reasons that the programs go so far in explaining the reliance on a spiritual answer. They want new members to know that “God” doesn’t have to necessarily be a term that means the creator of the universe. It simply means something that is stronger than addiction, something that can help an addict to battle their addiction that they haven’t thought of before. For some, the group meetings themselves will be the higher power. For others, it will be the God so many people refer to when they’re in church. For others, it might be something that brings them peace when they think of it, such as a sunset. It just has to be SOMETHING that is much more powerful than the addict and by extension more powerful than addiction.
Programs like Restore are extremely good at using these 12-step groups to further the recovery of their clients. Group meetings may be attended daily in the beginning, as addicts ease into recovery and learn the method of recovery that’s been so successful for addicts in the past. Not every client will continue to go to daily meetings later in recovery but meetings are an integral part of recovery in the early days of inpatient treatment. Counselors will sometimes mediate the meetings and at other times it will be just the patients themselves who share their experiences and explain how they are working their own unique program.
Spirituality will likely always be some part of recovery. It’s difficult to argue that addicts haven’t been lacking some sort of spiritual weapon against addiction. Often it is the spiritual side of recovery that is what finally pulls the addict out of their addiction and into the light of so many higher powers that will help them stay clean over the years. Thanks to programs like Restore, more addicts than ever before are confronting the menacing struggle of addiction thanks to all of the new tools of recovery that are picked up in 12-step meetings. Other group meetings can prove helpful to.
What discussing God in 12-step programs does is to look frankly at the issue and let addicts know that God has played a vital part in the success of so many addicts. They are free to adopt God as their own personal mentor through recovery or they can choose a non-religious higher power that lets them continue to experience the magic and miracles of recovery throughout the years.