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Should I Change 12-Step Programs?

Should I Change 12-Step Programs?When a person is in addiction rehab or is continuing the process of recovery, there are many different types of treatment he may be involved in. Because addiction recovery is such a delicate time, recovering addicts often become involved in individual therapy, psychoeducational groups, and 12-step programs. Each of these services is beneficial for their own particular purposes. However, they all strive to help an addict achieve recovery and prevent relapse. 12-step programs are often continued even after rehab has been completed. Sometimes, a member of a 12-step program may feel that they need to leave their program to find a new one. While this may be beneficial in some cases, there are many cautions and negatives to consider before making such a change. Continuity is an important factor in 12-step programs, and changing groups may interfere with the dynamic.

Reasons to Change 12-Step Programs

One of the most common reasons people consider leaving their 12-step program is because they feel that they are cured of their problem and no longer need the help of their group. Members of these groups are typically aware, though, that addiction recovery is a lifelong process that does not end as soon as a person achieves sobriety. Addiction is a chronic disease that may resurface if it is left untreated. Because of this, those who seek to permanently leave their 12-step program without intention of finding a new program should reconsider this risk.

Another common reason people change 12-steps programs results from interpersonal conflict within the group. When a group of individuals meets for any reason, there is always a risk of those people not getting along. Before leaving a 12-step group for this reason, that individual should first seek to address and resolve the conflict. This should be done in private in order to show respect for that individual. It is also important for a person to address his concerns with minimal use of blame. Instead of stating what the offender is doing wrong, one should state what they are feeling as a result of a situation that involved the offender. The use of “you” in a blaming sense can cause the other person to become defensive, and the conflict will likely fail to be resolved. If the conflict continues despite sincere attempts to correct it, it may be an appropriate time to search for a new 12-step program.

Recovering addicts may also consider changing 12-step groups if they suffer from multiple addictions. For example, an alcohol and narcotic addict may only be able to attend one 12-step program due to time constraints. If that person has completed the 12-step program for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), they may consider switching to a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) program. Because there is not enough time to attend both programs regularly, this can be a very considerable change. When doing this, it is important that the addict maintain awareness of his triggers in regards to the 12-step group they are no longer attending.

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