12-step recovery programs are an excellent way for anyone to maintain their sobriety once they leave treatment. Alcoholics Anonymous started in the 1930s, and many other fellowships like Narcotics Anonymous have been formed to cater to those with different types of addiction. Their philosophy is that one addict helping another is the best way to maintain one's sobriety, and it's proven to be effective. If you're going to meetings, you should be prepared for the types of people you'll meet, and you need to remember that your recovery is the most important thing, so you must stick with the winners.
You may be thinking that there are only 12 steps, but the term "13th stepper" is an inside term and joke used among those who go to meetings. The 13th step is essentially going to meetings to find potential love interests. This is all too common because many addicts in early recovery want to jump into a relationship. Drugs or alcohol were filling a void inside of them, but now that the substances are gone they believe that they can now fill this void with the love of a partner. Whether you read the AA Big Book or the Basic Text from Narcotics Anonymous, the books don't say to not get into a relationship, but it's a good suggestion and rule of thumb. Many people with some sobriety time will advise you against getting into a relationship your first year, and this is because a bad relationship can be a very fast route to relapse. Although you may feel that someone you meet finally "gets you," you must also realize that recovery is about working on yourself so you can begin to have healthy relationships without addiction.
Old-timers are wise and filled with great sobriety, but you must be careful about which ones you get close to, or take suggestions from. It's important to remember that just because someone has decades of sobriety doesn't always mean that it's good sobriety. There are also some old-timers who may tell you old-school ways of thinking such as how you're not really sober until you have 10 years of sobriety. Try to find old-timers who understand that nobody is better than anyone else in recovery, and they'll offer you their own experience, strength and hope to help you recover from addiction.
Unfortunately, there are some who go to meetings and aren't taking it seriously. They may be disruptive in the meetings or spend the entire duration on their smartphone. It's easy to form a resentment for them, or they may make you want to avoid the meeting entirely. Always remember that you shouldn't let anyone deter you from going to a meeting that helps you. You need to be selfish about your sobriety in the sense that you need to get as much out of every meeting as possible. Whatever type of people you run into at a meeting, just be sure that you find a support group of people who share similar ideas about sobriety as you and are as serious about it as you are. For many people, to drink or use again means to die, so you need other people who understand the 12 Steps, and how important it is for you to stay sober. Remember, once you're sober you have the ability to practice the 12th step by helping others, and you can always reach out for professional help if you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction. When you're ready for sobriety, you're ready for professional help. Call Freedom From Addiction today and get started on a life without the crippling effects of a drug or alcohol addiction.
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