Lifestyle, Behavioral & Emotional 12 Step Programs
Addiction comes in various different forms for each and every person who decides to join a 12-step program. While some addictions may seem more “severe” than others, whether it is a behavioral, emotional or substance addiction, all of these issues can have negative impacts on one’s mental, physical and emotional being. Since the 12-step format has worked so well with many other 12-step groups, it has been the main recovery process when dealing with any kind of addiction problems.
Behavioral, lifestyle and emotional 12-step programs can vary from dealing with compulsive habits, such as gambling or working too much, to addressing emotional and mental illness. Regardless of what kind of lifestyle, emotional or behavioral addiction you may be suffering from, there are many different kinds of 12-step programs to address these issues and help individuals recover. While the goals may differ in terms of “sobriety” from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, they offer the same 12 steps and 12 traditions, allowing each program to focus on the individual issues that are occurring in their members’ lives.
All of these groups are in place with one sole purpose: to help individuals recover from whatever they may be addicted to. There are no fees or costs for membership to any of these 12-step programs; the only requirement for any of these groups is the desire to stop engaging in whatever behavior or compulsion is causing their addiction to spiral them out of control.
Clutterers Anonymous (CLA)
Clutterers Anonymous is a 12-step program for individuals who are suffering from a cluttering addiction. In many cases, these individuals experience problems in their personal and work life due to their clutter or compulsive cluttering. Before entering the program, many members suffer from depression, isolation, loss of interest in leisure activities and other mental and emotional problems.
In the program, members are able to address the inner problems that cause them to clutter, define their own version of recovery from clutter or hoarding, and use the 12 steps and traditions to guide themselves into a new way and clutter-free lifestyle. Instead of forcing members to make an organizational plan or decluttering plan, the group focuses on helping individuals find the reasons as to why they clutter so that they can begin their own, unique plan for recovery.
Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA)
Beginning in 1986, Co-Dependents Anonymous is a 12-step program that offers recovery for individuals who have the desire to develop functional and healthy relationship habits. Instead of the group rigidly defining codependency, it allows individuals to decide for themselves if they suffer from codependency – referring to many codependents as individuals who may use others as their sole source of identity or value. Whether individuals were raised in addictive families or dysfunctional one, anyone who wants to recover from codependency is welcome to join the fellowship.
Using the 12 steps and 12 traditions, members of Co-Dependents Anonymous can begin experiencing freedom from self-defeating lifestyles, find ways to recover from traumatic experiences or histories, and begin to mend tumultuous relationships at their own pace.
Debtors Anonymous (DA)
Debtors Anonymous was formed in the 1970s, after several members of Alcoholics Anonymous realized that their financial difficulties may have been the cause of a different kind of mental disease – debting. The program is for individuals who have the desire to stop incurring unsecured debt and want to recover from compulsive debiting. The group encourages members to begin recordkeeping and monitoring all purchases, income and debt payments, to gain a clear understanding of one’s finances.
Action plans and spending plans can be made with some assistance from others members of the group, giving individuals a chance to receive advice from longtime members and focus on efforts to increase their future income. For individuals who may feel they have a problem with compulsive debiting, the official website offers a 15-question survey for them to decide whether Debtors Anonymous is right for them.
Emotions Anonymous (EA)
The organization of Emotions Anonymous was officialized in 1971 for individuals who had the desire to recover from mental and emotional illness. As of 2017, there were over 600 Emotions Anonymous groups worldwide. Emotional and mental illness can cause complete despair in one’s life, so the focus of the group is to address these issues and find a new and improved way of living for each of its members.
Emotions Anonymous does encourage its members to seek out professional therapy, mental health treatment, or medication if necessary; it is not a substitution for these services. Members in the program are able to find solutions to their problems from other members and receive tools of recovery to help them find new coping methods and handle their issues with depression, anger, fear and more.
Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
Gamblers Anonymous was formed in 1957 by a man who had a successful experience using the 12-step method in Alcoholics Anonymous. The group’s main purpose is to help members recover from their compulsive gambling problems. Once members accept that they have a problem with compulsive gambling and understand that they cannot gamble like other individuals, they can begin working the steps of the program and recover from their addiction.
For many members of Gamblers Anonymous, knowing why they gambled is not necessary. The important characteristics for members in the program to have are the open mindedness and willingness to put forth an honest effort to change the character within themselves. Once members begin working the steps, they can begin living a healthier and happier way of life.
Racists Anonymous (RA)
Although one of the newer groups, founded in 2015, Racists Anonymous focuses on the idea that racism is a mental illness and was created for individuals who want to pull themselves forward and end racism in themselves, then go on to reduce racism in future generations.
The program of Racists Anonymous believes that everyone, in some varying degree, is racist, and it is impossible in American culture to not be racist. Instead of trying to fix oneself, individuals are encouraged to begin self improvement to stop reinforcing prejudices and discrimination taught as the “norm” in American culture. Members of the group can become mindful of these racist patterns in themselves, assess their behaviors and stop perpetuating racism or bigotry in any form.
Underearners Anonymous (UA)
In 2005, Underearners Anonymous was founded for men and women to overcome their problems with underearning. In the program, underearning is defined as not only the inability to provide for oneself financially, but also the inability to utilizes one’s capabilities and competencies. In the program, underearning is considered a mental illness, just as any other addictive disease.
The program provides tools of recovery for individuals to use to help them recover, including written records of how time is spent, discarding items that serve no purpose to be able to provide themselves with what they need, and engage in action meetings to help members remain accountable and receive continuous support.
Workaholics Anonymous (WA)
Founded in the 1980s, Workaholics Anonymous is a 12-step program for individuals who identify themselves as workaholics. While the focus of the program was created for workaholics, it is also intended for individuals who suffer from work procrastination or work aversion. The program is open for anyone who has the desire to stop working compulsively and experiences unmanageability working, including housework, hobbies, fitness and more.
In the program, members can begin creating abstinence plans that help identify bottom line behaviors that lead to overworking or work aversion and learn how to abstain from them. The group also encourages members to take time for themselves and living in the moment instead of focusing on the future.
Survivors of Incest Anonymous (SIA)
The organization began in January 1982 when three women had gathered together to discuss the childhood sexual abuse they had experienced, which was done to them by a member of their families. Because they had experience and success with other 12-step groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, they decided to utilize the 12-step model to begin healing themselves and moving beyond their histories. From that day forward, they had formed the group of Survivors of Incest Anonymous.
In the program, members can begin their healing process with the help of the 12 steps and through sharing experience with and helping other members. One of the most important things for existing and new members of the program to understand is that they are never alone and what has happened to them in the past is not their fault. The goal of Survivors of Incest Anonymous is to help guide individuals who have survived childhood sexual trauma onto the road of recovery to begin their healing process.