In 1935, Bill W. and Dr. Bob started Alcoholics’ Anonymous (AA). Before the founding of AA, the fate of most -if not all- alcoholics was mental institutions, prisons, or graveyards. Bill W. and Dr. Bob got the inspiration for AA from their own recoveries from alcoholism. From collaborating with one another on solutions to their problems, they were able to maintain recovery. The 12 steps became the outline of the concepts that they talked about in their program.
You may be turned off by the idea of the 12 steps for a variety of reasons:
• Being appalled by the idea of having to believe in a Higher Power.
• Discouragement of other methods to treat addiction that may have worked for you (e.g. medication-assisted treatment).
• Believing that defects of character are not a part of alcoholism because everyone has defects of character.
• Being appalled by the idea of prayer, meditation, and confession.
• Not wanting to be a stereotypical AA member, which is an “old man who drinks coffee.”
• Feeling that AA is a cult.
• Believing that addiction is a disease that cannot be cured through spiritual means.
If you are going to an alcohol treatment center in New Jersey, you most likely will encounter the 12 Steps at some point. Though you may originally dislike or not believe in the 12 Steps, you should keep an open mind because there is a great reason why most treatment centers use the 12 Steps.
Why Treatment Centers Push the 12 Steps
The wording of the 12 Steps is merely a reflection of the time in which they were written. In the 1930’s, many more people followed Christian denominations. However, the meaning behind a “Higher Power” or “God” is simply something that is outside of yourself that you can rely on for restoration of sanity. For many people, the program itself is their Higher Power.
The purpose behind AA and the 12 Steps is not to push God or religion. The purpose is cognitive restructuring. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is correcting distorted thoughts and thus correcting destructive behaviors. Your distorted ways of thinking and destructive behavior contributed to your addiction. AA and the 12 Steps renders a higher way of thinking in order to help you stray from destructive behaviors. AA is a purely spiritual program that allows you to “take what you like and leave the rest.” Though spirituality and religion are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Spirituality is simply succumbing to a higher way of thinking; religion is a set of rules and regulations.
Seacrest Recovery Center is located in Eatontown, New Jersey. We are an outpatient treatment center that encourages the involvement in the 12 Step Programs in your community. However, we are flexible, nurturing, and understanding to your individual case. Call us today at (833) 762-3765