Making the decision to get assistance for your drug and alcohol use is sometimes difficult to do. Now that you have made the decision, you are struggling with where to go for help and you may have asked, are 12 Step prevention techniques effective and helpful? Perhaps you have heard that AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) are the programs that you should join, but the truth is that while 12 Step programs boast a 2 million member enrollment; their dropout rate is 95 %. Here are some facts about 12 Step programs and then you can decide.
12 Step programs teach the belief that drug and alcohol use is an incurable genetic disease that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family. They believe that you have an alcoholism or addiction gene and that the only treatment is belief in and submission to a higher power, meetings for the rest of your life, and total lifelong abstinence. 12 Step programs promote the idea that you are powerless in your efforts to stop using alcohol and drugs and that relapse is a certainty.
12 Step programs convince their members that their substance use is not their fault because they are victims. Meetings are most often filled with bitter and angry members, either venting about their substance use, or explaining how alcohol and drug use is ruining their life. There is no encouragement to move beyond substance use, because 12 Step programs do not believe that you can get better because you are diseased.
You are not diseased and there is no such thing as an addiction gene or alcoholic gene. You use drugs and alcohol because you want to use drugs and alcohol. You do not have a genetic disease that causes you to use drugs and alcohol. In a medical disease, like cancer, there are symptoms and a physiological change inside the body from having cancer that requires chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery, as well as medicine to fight the disease and sometimes all of these combined can't eradicate the cancer. Cancer patients can't choose to not have their disease. They may be treated, cured, go into remission or die but the cancer is not under their conscious controlâ€”they don't make choices to expand or contract their cancer. Alcohol and drug use cannot be compared to cancer, because substance use is not a disease. Alcohol and drug use can stop because you choose to stop or because you lose access to using the substances by being in jail, in the hospital, or out of money to purchase substances. Cancer and other diseases don't stop or change under circumstances of choice.
Substance use is a learned behavior. You learned to use alcohol and drugs from watching someone else, possibly someone in your family, who modeled how and why to use it. You made a decision to consider substance use as part of behaviors you were willing to try. You get a happy or relieved feeling when you use drugs and alcohol and your brain associates that happy feeling with your substance use.You can retrain your brain to associate the happy feeling with something else that you choose and feel is more to your benefit than substance use. If you are ready for a new life that does not include drugs and alcohol use and you believe you never were and never will be a drug addict or an alcoholic, consider a program that can help you change your substance use permanently and move forward with your life.
St. Jude Retreats is a non-treatment program that offers information and techniques to use Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL) and neuroplasticity to that will show you how to self evaluate, make better choices, and develop habits and behaviors that are productive, positive, and purposeful.