The 12 Step Program “Higher Power”: What is it and how do you choose one?

Nature as a Higher Power

The concept of having a Higher Power to guide us is an integral part of the 12-step vision of recovery. Indeed, six of the steps deal directly with the relationship between members and God. This concept serves a crucial purpose in the process. Recovery involves a realization that our own best judgment has derailed our lives and led us to an unmanageable state. To pursue a better path in the future, we humbly put our life path in the hands of greater power. This process is at the core of the first two-steps.

The program encourages not only belief in a Higher Power, but rather forming a spiritual relationship with that entity which is an integral part of our lives. Many of us fall into addiction and relapse because we feel powerless and lose our self-esteem. The cultivation of a daily relationship with our Higher Power can restore meaning to our lives. We do this through daily meditation and prayer. Prayer helps us talk to our Higher Power, while meditation helps us listen. This is the essence of step 11.

A deep spiritual connection with a Higher Power also helps alleviate some of the core causes of addiction: loneliness and isolation. The importance of this aspect of recovery cannot be stressed enough. Once the steps are completed, we know our place in the world and that our Higher Power cares for us. For many of us, knowing we are being watched over makes us feel part of something important. Knowing that we have a place in this world and that we aren’t alone can motivate us to quit drinking or using it. This can be a key part of recovery.

List of Current Online (Virtual) 12 Step Meetings for each 12 Step Program

Online 12 step meetings

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many addicts are struggling to find the help they get from meetings while under these special circumstances. Even without the requirements of staying home or having to quarantine, going out and being around groups of people may not be the best idea for individuals who are susceptible to getting sick. Regardless of the reason, it is important for members of 12-step fellowships to continue attending meetings as regularly and often as possible.

Thankfully, there are solutions to these problems. The virtual meetings that are taking place online or on the phone allow 12-step program members to still share their experiences, strengths and hopes and continue to recover in the comfort of their own home. Similar to in-person meetings, anonymity remains and these virtual meetings are set in place to allow a safe meeting ground for addicts in recovery. Some of these meetings can occur on the telephone, Zoom, social media and more. Whatever is the most comfortable way for members to reach out to one another, finding these meeting grounds is crucial to recovery.

SLAA, COSLAA, SAA, SA, SCA & SRA – What are these 12 step programs and what’s the difference?

SLAA, COSLAA, SAA, SA, SCA & SRA - What are these 12 step programs and what's the difference

Sex addiction is a complex problem and many addicts require support from a 12-step group. However, there is a bewildering array or fellowships dedicated to this malady. How do you choose which one is right for you? Understanding the differences between the groups. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) SLAA is an organization to help addicts …

Read moreSLAA, COSLAA, SAA, SA, SCA & SRA – What are these 12 step programs and what’s the difference?

Is Narcotics Anonymous Effective? Does It Work?

Is Narcotics Anonymous Effective

For addicts still struggling in active addiction, searching for the answer to their problems today is never easy. Even after hearing about Narcotics Anonymous, they may still be reluctant to attend meetings, whether it is because they do not have the desire to stop using or they just don’t believe they are effective. The program of Narcotics Anonymous has proven effective for many of its members. The only requirement for those who want to attend meetings is the desire to stop using.

Recovery Rates in NA

Although recovery rates cannot always be measured, the NA program conducted a survey back in 2013 to try and demonstrate the effectiveness of the Narcotics Anonymous program. The success rates were shown in itself after more than 16,000 members participated in the online survey, which was posted for several months to allow all individuals to try and respond.

The responses not only indicated that the program worked, but it also showed the diversity and variety of members in the program. The survey showed that members were attending because they had a desire to stop using – with over 45% of newcomers attending because of influence from another member and only 11% attending because they were court mandated.

Over 30% of the respondents were sober for one to five years, 17% were sober for six to ten years and 19% had over 20 years of sobriety under their belts. Another important part of the survey explained that over 90% of the members reported improvement in their personal relationship and family areas. The answers were in the numbers.

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) Literature: The “White Book”, Step into Action and More

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) Literature

In this piece, we will examine the major literature associated with Sexaholics Anonymous. The focus will be on the foundational “White Book”, which is the major text of the fellowship. The other important literature will also be examined. It is important to note that SA also uses some of the basic AA literature and recommends that members use those resources as well. For a full list of all SA approved literature, see: https://www.sa.org/w/wp-content/uploads/approvedlit.pdf

The “White Book”

The foundational text of Sexaholics Anonymous is so named because the cover is completely white, with no identifying marks whatsoever. It sets out to apply the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to the experience of sexaholics. It is divided into three distinct sections:

The Problem.

This section describes what lust addiction is and how it manifests into the peculiar dynamic of sex addiction. It unpacks the process by which the sexaholic tries to find in lust, what is lacking in themselves, leading to ever more disruptive acting out. The result of this, as the book describes, is the addict loses loved ones, careers, and ultimately, themselves.

Drinking in Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Is it allowed?

Drinking in Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Narcotics Anonymous has so blatantly been explained as a fellowship for those who struggle with substance abuse addiction. It is intended for addicts who are seeking out recovery or the desire to stop using. When the average person hears the words “Narcotics Anonymous,” their first thought is that the individuals who attend these support groups are there to stop using drugs, which leads to the bold and confusing question – are you allowed to drink if you are in Narcotics Anonymous?

Alcohol for Addicts

Many addicts may try to justify what alcohol is to them. In fact, for many addicts in recovery, their drug of choice was never alcohol. Alcohol is generally one of the first and initial substances put into their bodies, which is what usually leads them down the road of addiction.

For most addicts, it doesn’t matter what substance is being used; what matters is that it is mind and mood altering. While some addicts prefer to have a drug of choice, it simply doesn’t matter how much or what kind as long as it takes away from whatever they are feeling at the time or place. To put it generally, most addicts could care less what is being used as long as it gets them high.

The NA Basic Text – What it is and where you can get one

NA Basic Text

Although Narcotics Anonymous has been around since the 1950’s, the NA program didn’t have any specific literature like Alcoholics Anonymous had until the 1980’s. There were pamphlets used in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but no literature was actually established and published until many years later. While this didn’t sway fellowship members for attending meetings, the literature did help shape the program by following in the steps of the “Big Book of AA” by providing a strong basis for addicts to use when entering the NA program. The “Basic Text,” or the book that explains everything about the NA program, was created in the same way that the Alcoholics Anonymous literature was and follows the same steps and traditions as the “Big Book of AA.”

The “Basic Text” is not just another book about addiction; it is a book about recovery. The literature thoroughly explains what the steps of the program are, how to work them, how to gain the most out of your own experiences in the program and allows other addicts to share their own experiences from their addiction to their recovery process. For those who are still new to the program, the book also helps those individuals identify whether or not they feel that they are an addict and how abstaining from using can impact their lives.

The only requirement for membership to NA is the desire to stop using and that is emphasized throughout the explanation of the program in the beginning chapters. The “Basic Text” encourages those suffering from addiction to work the steps and the program, because those who work the program and continuously attend meetings can recover and do stay clean and sober.

The 12 Steps of SA – What are they and what do they mean?

12 Steps of SA

The 12-step concept is the cornerstone of the various groups which emerged from Alcoholics Anonymous, including Sexaholics Anonymous. Though tailored to alleviate the affliction of sexual addiction, it follows the basic contours outlined in the “Big Book of AA” over eighty years ago. The steps are:

Step 1: We admitted that we were powerless over lust—that our lives had become unmanageable.

In this step, we admit that the path we have followed thus far has led us to life of desperation based on a ceaseless pursuit of lust. In order to rectify this, we admit addiction and fruitless attempts at self-reliance have made our life intolerable.

What is the Big Book of AA and where can I get one?

Big Book of AA

What is the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous?

Originally titled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism, the first large work released by AA was referred to as “the Big Book of AA” due to the thickness of the pages used in the first edition.

The most notable contribution of the “Big Book of AA” is the methodical presentation of the vaunted “12-Steps of AA”, the cornerstone of the recovery of millions of addicts. The “How it Works” chapter, which contains these steps, has since appeared with minor adjustments in the literature of all other related fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous and Sexaholics Anonymous.

The entire Alcoholics Anonymous program stands and falls on the success of the 12-step concept of recovery presented in that chapter. It is hard to conduct scientific studies of the effectiveness of 12-step programs, due to the anonymity factor. However, those studies that have been conducted have conclusively pointed to its usefulness in fostering recovery.

12 Traditions For Each Major 12 Step Program

12 Traditions

What are the 12 Traditions?

While we know that each of the major 12 step programs is based on a 12 step structure, each program also has 12 traditions. The 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is where the 12 traditions of other programs come from, are in place to ensure that there are rules on how to handle internal disagreements and disputes as well as how to behave when interacting with the general public.

A lot of what would eventually become the 12 traditions was mentioned in the forward of the AA Big Book in 1939. Though, the official version of the 12 traditions wasn’t published until 1946 in the AA Grapevine. They were originally called the Twelve Points to Assure Our Future. They were officially adopted at AA’s International Convention held in 1950.

Here are the 12 traditions of each of the major 12 step programs: