The Value of 12-Step Groups

If you are dealing with a problem that is hard to control, the experience, strength and hope from other people who are in a similar situation can be a great healp.  Finding other people with similar struggles who are working to get better has a value beyond measure.

I'm a big believer in the value of 12-step groups.  They are a great way to get support, advice, strength and hope for almost any problem that may be bothering you.  The success of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930's has been expanded to myny other types of similar groups for different issues, including thousands of meetings in the Atlanta area.

Self-help groups offer many types of support.  They are a place where people can say anything without fear of being judged or criticized.  This attitude of acceptance has a profoundly positive effect.  The best meetings are where people are "living in the solution instead of the problem",.  This means people are not complaining but instead are talking about ways to stay healthy, happy and free from the issues that brought them there.

Many people who get to know each other in self-help groups also offer each other support outside of the meeting.  Lunches, talks over coffee, and telephone calls during hard times are ways to bring the full benefits of recovery into every aspects of a person's life.

Most 12-step support groups have some qualities in common.  There is generally no cost to attend.  People know each other only by first name. When people talk they describe their own personal experience and don't tell each other what to do.  There is often the opportunity to develop a relationship with a "sponsor", who is an experienced person who can provide personal, one-on-one attention and guidance.

Not everything said in a 12-step meeting may seem valuable at the moment.  What one person finds helpful may not strike another person the same way.  It's important to try to "take what you need and leave the rest."  It's like a cafeteria: many choices are available, but not all of them have to go on your plate.

If you feel shy about going to a 12-step meeting for the first time, it can help to remember that everyone there at one time was in the same position.  Some of the friendliest people you'll ever find attend these groups, and they want you to feel comfortale being there.  They will also leave you alone if you prefer.  It may be hard to imagine, but people feel a benefit when a new person enters the room.  

There are some typical objections people have to have about 12-step groups.  I wrote an article about the most common 12-step group objections that you may want to read if you are hesitant.  Maybe it will help!
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If I can provide more personal assistance to you, either in person, by phone or via Skype, please don't hesitate to contact me.