Makana Path Blog

February 12, 2021

Getting Back to the 12 Steps After a Dry Period

getting back to the 12 steps

Overcoming your addictive behaviors is a difficult first step. You’ve taken that step and you are now on the road to recovery. You’ve been sober and drug-free for a long time and have decided you no longer need to participate in a 12-Step program. Getting back to the 12 steps after a dry period could mean the difference in your long-term sobriety, however.

Recovery is an Ongoing Process

Addiction is a disease that can be checked but never completely eliminated. Your addiction will always be a part of who you are and how you need to act. The 12-Step philosophy emphasizes the importance of acknowledging this fact, as it promotes your need to enhance your maturity and spiritual growth, minimize your self-centeredness, and provide help to others who are also addicted.

The steps in the program are designed to help you on an ongoing basis, not just while you are working your way through them. The 12 steps specify that you must admit your powerlessness over drugs and alcohol, take a moral self-inventory, admit the nature of your wrongdoings, make a list of people you’ve harmed in your addiction, make amends to those individuals, and stay involved in support groups that are designed to provide you a substance-free, positive support network.

Increased Opportunities for Long-Term Success

Continued participation in a 12-Step program has been associated with a greater likelihood of abstinence for the long-term. It has also been shown to result in improved psychosocial functioning and an increased sense of self-worth. Many people, though, stop participating in the 12-Step program after they believe they have figured out how to maintain their sobriety on their own. Getting back to the 12 steps after a dry period can help you stay sober for the longer term.

Participating in a 12-Step program while in addiction treatment has been shown to result in better outcomes. Consistent, early, and frequent involvement and engagement in 12-Step activities, in particular, are more predictive of improved substance use outcomes than simply attending meetings. Activities such as doing the step work, volunteering at meetings, and working with a sponsor can help you focus on your continued sobriety.

After treatment, increasing your involvement in the 12 steps can serve as an important source of support and a form of continuing care that has been shown to lead to decreased utilization of mental health and substance abuse treatment services and associated costs. Research studies involving almost 11,000 patients found that people who continued to participate in a 12-Step program had 20% improved abstinence rates over a period of 12 months, and that effect remained constant at 24 and 36 months.

A Proven Approach

Recovery is a process, not a destination. Detox and therapy are critical to your success in recovery, as you discover and address the underlying causes of your addiction. In addition to these treatment options, participating in the 12 steps is a proven approach to getting your life back on track after addiction.

The key is participation and not just attendance. Even though you may feel that you have conquered your addiction and that you no longer need the 12-Step program, getting back to the 12 steps after a dry period will give you the tools you need to resist when your addiction starts talking to you again, enticing you back to drugs or alcohol.

The 12-Step program addresses the psychology of your struggle with addiction, as well as your values, your connectedness to others, and your willingness to engage with others and to humbly ask for help. You have accepted that you have an addiction and that, at some point in your life, it became unmanageable. When you leave the 12-Step program and try to maintain your sobriety on your own, it can quickly become stressful and unmanageable again.

You are taking responsibility for your own actions in recovery, of course, but you also need to be aware of excessive self-reliance. Realize that telling yourself “I can get out of this myself” can be a substantial roadblock to long-term recovery from your addiction. Your goal is to change your life for the better, to gain stability in your life, and to become more functional. As you become more responsible and more reliable, the support you get and can offer others through the 12 steps will become an essential part of your recovery as well.

All You Have to Do Is Call

Getting back to the 12 steps is as easy as making a phone call and showing up. At Makana Path, we want you to understand that relapse does not mean failure. Our 12-Step Intensive Program can help you get back on track with your recovery. We work with you on intensive healing, through a combination of evidence-based clinical therapies and 12-Step programming. We specialize in treating chronic relapsers and those who identify as treatment-resistant and are here to support you. To learn more about our intensive healing program, contact Makana Path today by calling 1-866-313-0978.

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