Should You Go to 12 Step Meetings for Drug Addiction Support?

Should You Go to 12 Step Meetings for Drug Addiction Support?


There are several different types of drug addiction support that you might use in recovery.  One of the most popular types of support is at 12 step meetings such as AA or NA.  There are both advantages and disadvantages to 12 step support for addiction.

One advantage is that the meetings are free.  You do not have to pay a single dime to attend any 12 step meeting, ever.  People who go to the meetings will sometimes donate in order to keep the meeting running.  But other than that, there is really no pressure for you to give any money.

Second of all, the support that you can get from these meetings is very widespread. The meetings occur all over the world, in many different countries, and just about everyone has access to them.  So they are very widely available, much more so than other forms of support.

Third, the people in the meetings are generally extremely helpful and supportive. Even if you disagree with the philosophy or the program itself, the level of support that you can get from these meetings is pretty strong.  The people are almost always genuinely helpful.

So what are the disadvantages?  The only big one is that the program generally does not work for most people.  In fact, almost 80 percent of people who go to a 12 step meeting will leave the program within one year and never return.  Of those who stay, many are in a constant cycle of relapse and recovery.  Some do stay clean and sober, but most do not.

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However, this is not a real strong argument against the program, because there are no superior alternatives at this time.  This really is the best thing we have going for treating addiction at this point.  There are other groups and other programs, but they do not offer superior success rates.  And even worse, alternative programs are very hard to find and they are not widespread.  So it makes sense to just stick with the majority leader….which is currently 12 step programs.

It is possible to find support outside of 12 step meetings, but doing so is a lot harder.  But it might be more rewarding to find your own path in recovery, especially if the 12 step program does not work for you.  You can create your own success in recovery, in spite of what they might tell you at the meetings.  Don’t be afraid to find your own path and seek your own personal growth as a means of recovery.

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