When a person enters a drug treatment facility to start their recovery journey, there are a multitude of programs that can help people address and overcome their addiction. One of the most common models used in recovery centers is the 12-step model. While the 12-step recovery model has helped countless numbers of addicts find lasting sobriety, the principles that suggest believing in God or Higher power as a cure for their addiction is controversial in some circles.
Despite the controversy, the 12-step model of recovery is powerful and can help addicts find recovery—no matter the severity of one’s addiction. This article will take a closer look at the 12-step recovery model.
Understand how the 12-step program is used in recovery. Find some successful treatments and programs like ocean-based therapy, and other methodologies used by HIR to ensure success.
Why would anyone want to join a 12-step recovery program? Many people rallied against the 12 steps thinking that its principles suggest believing in God or Higher power as a cure for their addiction and they think that it discourages personal responsibility.
What is the 12-Step Recovery Model?
Simply defined, the 12-Step recovery model is based on the premise that addicts can help one another not only achieve sobriety, but also maintain sobriety. This is accomplished through 12-step meetings in which recovering addicts share their experiences with one another. Additionally, those in 12-step groups support each other and work with sponsors who have considerable clean time.
The 12-step recovery model is based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which was founded in the late 1930’s. Over time, the model has been modified to fit other programs such as Narcotics Anonymous. Groups that are agnostic or atheist spiritually have also modified these steps to change the concept of the “higher power”.
How Hawaii Island Recovery Uses the 12-Step Model to Help Clients
Hawaii Island Recovery believes that a person is powerless over alcohol or drugs the moment he or she becomes addicted to them. Addiction changes the person, not by choice but by the very nature of addiction. As a whole, the 12 Steps help people achieve honesty, hope, faith, courage, and integrity. So, the first task is to show people they are fooling themselves in believing they can handle their addiction on their own.
The very first thing that the staff does is to strip down denial-which is very common to drug addicts and alcoholics. They will make you realize that your drug use is out of control and that you need help. Acceptance is key.
At Hawaii Island Recovery, clients will undergo a comprehensive assessment to measure the level of their addiction. Additionally, they will be evaluated for any underlying medical and psychological needs that may impact recovery. Experienced treatment staff will also use individual, group and family therapies that help clients understand themselves better and the people around them. Hawaii Island Recovery also employs proven detoxification methods as well as therapies such as EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and experiential and holistic therapies that support physical and psychological healing.
How Experiential Therapies Can Complement the 12-Step Recovery Model
The 12-Step Recovery Model can be very effective when paired with other interventions—especially experiential therapies such as equine therapy and dolphin therapy. Interacting with animals in a caretaker role helps clients discover themselves in deeper and new ways. The interactions clients have with animals can bring forth tremendous healing.
When asked about her initial dolphin-assisted therapy session, Abby, a former client of Hawaii Island Recovery, said the following:
“It was dramatic. Though I loved the ocean, but at that time…I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t slow down and that’s something I didn’t know how to do in years. The second I got my breathing down, I was calm and I saw the dolphins…and it was a beautiful memory.”Abby
With HIR’s treatment methods, support from the staff and the serene and healing paradise island which serves as your temporary home while you heal-it is possible to achieve the remaining tasks of 12 steps. These include the willingness to change, humility to let go and move forward, the discipline to maintain sobriety, forgive, accept and discover your purpose and to serve others.
Here’s how HIR uses the 12 Steps to help clients beat addiction
There are 12 tasks involved in the 12 steps. The first five steps help you achieve honesty, hope, faith, courage, and integrity. So, the first task is to stop fooling yourself and other people. HIR believes that a person is powerless over alcohol or drugs the moment he or she becomes addicted to them. Addiction changes the person, not by choice but by the very nature of addiction.
At HIR you have to go through a comprehensive assessment to measure the level of your addiction, medical and psychological needs and other issues that need to be addressed while you stay on the paradise island. Individual, group and family therapies can help you understand yourself better and the people around you. You get to hear their side of the story, get the inspiration and support you need, cultivate hope that you’ll get better someday. These social interactions and behavioral and psychological therapies can also help you have the courage and integrity to accept your faults and make an unyielding decision to resolve them.
Admit, surrender, convert and identify
The 12 steps are all about admitting your defeat, surrendering yourself to God or to someone or anything you refer to as a higher power, conversion experience (how you changed) and identification(seeing who you are, and what you have been through and helping others overcome their addiction).
Inventory of wrongs done, acceptance and making amends
To work the steps, you have to admit that you are powerless over your addiction and that you cannot manage your life anymore because of it. Because your addiction becomes uncontrollable you surrender yourself to God or to a higher power. Next, you make an inventory of your beliefs, values and the things you have been doing in your life and discover yourself in the process.
You have to accept that you did all the wrong things you listed on your inventory, even the things that make you guilty and turn them over to God or to a higher power. Afterward, you make a list of the people you have hurt, grieved and wronged. Then you try to make amends to people you have hurt in the past, including the people you decided never to ask forgiveness from.
God-consciousness, daily surrender and giving back to others
The last few steps talk about God-consciousness and daily prayer and surrender to God or to a higher power. It is the period in your life when you already know your purpose in life and you believe that your life has a new meaning and direction. You write down your improvements as well as your setbacks on a daily basis. You work on these setbacks and try to improve yourself every single day by working the steps, getting support from sponsors and fellow recovering addicts, and therapists.
Finally, you reach out to other people in recovery as a way of giving back. You join NA meetings and other support groups to inspire and motivate recovering addicts to stick to their recovery goals by sharing your experiences with them and offering comfort and advice when needed.
How do you reconcile 12 steps with wild dolphins?
Ocean-based Treatment helps you discover things about yourself that you wouldn’t normally know. These wild mammals come to you as you swim with them and the interaction itself can usher healing or a whole host of other insights and changes.
With HIR’s treatment methods, support from the staff and the serene and healing paradise island which serves as your temporary home while you heal-it is possible to achieve the remaining tasks of 12 steps. These include the willingness to change, humility to let go and
move forward, the discipline to maintain sobriety, forgive, accept and discover your purpose and to serve others.