The Center for Students in Recovery believes in the effectiveness and importance of The Twelve Steps and experiential groups in treating addiction and enhancing the lives of recovering persons. Below are brief explanations of both, as well as glossary of terms and acronyms.
The Twelve Steps
A twelve step program is a set of structured principles that direct a course of action for recovery from addiction or other behavioral struggles. The Twelve Steps was originally developed by Alcohol Anonymous (AA) in their book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism in 19391. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines the 12-step process as involving the following2:
- Recognition that one cannot control their addiction alone.
- Recognition of a higher power that empowers that individual.
- Examining past struggles with the support of an experienced individual, or “Sponsor.”
- Making amends for these struggles and consequential wrong doings.
- Development of a new code of behavior by which to live by.
- Giving back to the community of individuals in recovery.
Although the various 12-step programs have developed adaptions to the original 12 steps identified by Alcohol Anonymous, the original steps are as follows3:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
As is evident above, the original AA’s 12 steps were faith based with an emphasis on Christianity. Not all 12-step programs are now faith-based, and most clearly identify whether or not they are. Although community faith-based 12-step programs can be offered on campus, the CSR’s 12-step recovery meetings are not faith-based.
Review variations of the 12-step program.
Experiential groups in a collegiate recovery program is a concept derived from Experiential Therapy in which individuals engage in a therapeutic process that includes various active experiences outside of traditional “talk therapy.” Collegiate recovery experiential groups engage in various sober activities such as social outings, service and volunteer projects, community development, and community outreach. Service plays a key role in the experiential groups, which includes both service to the members of the recovering community as well as the local community4.
- Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA or ACA)- 12-step program for individuals who want to recover from growing up in alcoholic or dysfunctional family.
- Al-Anon- fellowship of the friends and relatives of addicts that share in their experiences in an effort to solve their common problems.
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)- Most common 12-step program for individuals suffering from addiction to alcohol although it is common for other addicts to attend these meetings.
- Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA)- fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships.
- Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)- 12-step program for individuals wishing to recover from a crystal meth addiction.
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)-12-step program for individuals wishing to recover from a substance abuse program.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- a severe clinical diagnoses that may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, serious injury or the threat of death.
- Stacie Mathewson Foundation- non-profit organization focused on addiction recovery and prevention for young people. Provided a grant to support the UTA CSR.
1 Bill W. (June 2001). Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN 1-893007-16-2.
2 VandenBos, Gary R. (2007). APA dictionary of psychology (1st ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-59147-380-2.
3 Alcoholics Anonymous (June 2001). "Chapter 5: How It Works" (PDF). Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN 1-893007-16-2
4 Therapia Addiction Healing Center, (2013). Experiential therapy. Retrieved from Therapia Addiction Healing Center website: http://therapia.net/experiential_therapy
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