No, it’s not a cult.
Busting the myths around 12 step fellowships
At Season’s rehabilitation centres we use an internationally accredited style of holistic treatment that addresses all five aspects of addiction. The physical, psychological, emotional, social and yes – gasp, the spiritual malady behind the disease of addiction too.
While we are not affiliated with any 12-Step programmes, we recommend that our clients and their families use the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon as a support resource post treatment.
Why? Because they’re awesome.
There’s nothing quite like having a support network of fellow recovering addicts, alcoholics and ‘alanons’ to help our clients get through the tough days once they leave our centres. After all, the goal is not just to stop for the time they are here, but to stay stopped once they get home. We want our clients to create new lives, without drugs and alcohol. Lives, where goals can finally be met and dreams beyond what they thought possible, can be fulfilled.
The only problem is this. Lots of people think 12-Step fellowships are weird or creepy. You may have seen portrayals of ‘The Rooms’ on movies or heard outrageous things. This is mostly because 12 Step fellowships are shrouded by the principle of anonymity, which for an outsider, can seem very mysterious and secret indeed. So let us ease your mind with some straight up answers to the questions you may have about 12 Step fellowships, and how they’ll become a part of your life after receiving treatment with Seasons.
- Don’t stress out, it’s not a cult
This is one of the first things our clients ask us so let’s nail it on the head right away. In 12 Step fellowships, you’ll see groups of people standing in circles, sharing their emotions, crying together, hugging and even saying the Serenity Prayer. This does not mean it’s a cult. There are no crazy leaders and no pressure to do, say, or believe in anything. You choose to come and you choose to go whenever you wish. Though you might be surprised at how fun it is to stick around.
- Yes, they talk about God but…
Yes, finding your own personal Higher Power is part of working the 12-Steps but the programme welcomes atheists, agnostics, Wiccans, Buddhists, Christians, satin worshippers and just about anyone else you can imagine. There is no set concept of ‘God’ that you will need to believe in. You can believe in nature or you can even just believe in the power of the group to do good in your life. All you need to do is recognise that there is a power greater than yourself and that it can help you to stay clean, sober or sane.
- You never know who’ll walk in the door
The principle of anonymity is in place to protect members from being outed as recovering addicts or alcoholics. This is really reassuring if you feel embarrassed about your situation and especially if you’re a professional that needs to keep up a ‘straight’ front for business purposes. Frankly, you’ll find all sorts of people in 12-Step fellowships. There will be Doctors, Criminals, Housewives, Lawyers, Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers and even Teenagers trying to recover. Addiction is a disease which doesn’t discriminate.
- There’s no surveillance so you’re safe!
One of the coolest things about 12-Step fellowships is that they’re a safe place to share your stuff. Whether you’re feeling sad or happy, stressed or on the edge of picking up… It doesn’t matter, you can be honest in the rooms and trust that no-one is going to report back to your parole officer, your wife, or your kids. What you WILL get is the support of the other members who have likely been through the same things as you.
- It’s like a big, messy, happy family.
In a 12-step group, you’ll see people hugging, you will see them crying together, laughing hysterically and even sometimes arguing. This is because there’s a special bond that happens between addicts, alcoholics and ‘alanons’ who are recovering together. Many members say it’s a connection stronger than family. In 12-step fellowships, you’ll form friendships that last many years and you’ll find the dynamic with these people functions at a deep level of intimacy, honesty and love that will soothe you. After some time in a 12-Step fellowship, you’ll find ‘your’ people and come to realise that you never have to be alone again.
- There’s a fellowship for everyone!
The principles of 12-Step programmes can be applied to almost any type of addiction. That means there’s a place for people to go if they have problems with Alcohol, Drugs, Sex and Love Addiction, Gambling Addiction, Food addiction, Debt problems and of course if they have anyone in their family who suffers from addiction. You see addiction is a family disease, it affects everyone but each person in the family has a 12-Step programme to support them to recover.
- How do I work the 12-Steps?
Yes, we can absolutely confirm that there’s some writing and reading to be done when you arrive in your fellowship of choice. The amount and type depend on which one you choose. But the process almost involves enlisting some help from a more experienced member. You will usually need to buy a book or two of approved literature, sit down with a pen and paper and answer some questions. Note, this is extra (and above) the work you will have already done at Seasons.
- Is it for the rest of your life?
Ok, let’s be straight. YES, there will be a day that comes when it’s not hard to be clean and sober and YES, your obsession to use drugs or alcohol will be removed. But let us be very clear. While the disease of addiction can be arrested, it cannot be cured. Keeping the proverbial ‘jack in the box’ takes ongoing effort. However, there’s a very well proven way to stay clean and sober after you finish treatment and one of the key factors of your success will be your continued attendance of 12-Step meetings. The funny thing is, we find our clients keep coming back to 12-Step meetings not because they have to, but because they WANT to. Who would’ve thought?
If you’re seeking help for some kind of addiction, or if you’d like some information for a friend, just click one of the links below. There’s a whole team of funny, smart, professional people waiting to meet you and you’ll discover that it’s totally possible to change your life for the better.