3 Mental Health Benefits of 12-step Recovery

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Orlando Counseling Providing Anxiety, Trauma and Relationship Therapy

Before I start, let me qualify.  I have been impacted by addiction since day one, sober for over nine years, and worked in the field of addictions for the last seven years. I am by no means a 12-step purist. I don’t believe that one size fits all and do I believe there are multiple roads to recovery.

This article infuses my personal experience and professional opinion as to why 12-step recovery should be a consideration for someone who wants to get and stay sober.

Community

As an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, no matter what my client’s primary compliant is, I ALWAYS assess for their community. In the first session, I ask, “Who are your people? Who do you call for support?”

Let’s face it y’all…We need people. We need connection.  We need to know that we can call someone when the shit hits the fan. We need to know we are emotionally supported.

People suffering from addiction typically have a very long history of isolation.  And when I say isolation, I mean emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental isolation.  It is LONELY to have fallen into the hell of addiction. 

Having a community of people is so important for individuals trying to recover.  Having relationships where one can receive care, compassion and support and be able to reciprocate those things brings meaning to life.  Being part of a community is essential for mental health.

Acceptance

Book after book has been written about self-acceptance, accepting circumstances, and accepting others.  Acceptance is key to having a mentally healthy life. Self-acceptance allows us to set healthy boundaries so we aren’t giving parts of ourselves away trying to win the love of someone else.  Accepting circumstances allows us to “let go” when things don’t go our way, so we don’t spin out or melt down when we get stuck in traffic.  Accepting others allows us to be kind and compassionate to others.  All of these flavors of acceptance set us up to live happy and healthy lives.

Twelve-step recovery offers an environment where we can start to accept ourselves and all of the destruction in the wake of the addiction.  It allows us to see the common humanity in our addiction. We have a shared pain that dissipates in the presence of compassion. We find we are able to offer that compassion to others and through that, offer it ourselves. And it is through this process that we find self-acceptance.

Shame is a barrier for so many people trying to get sober. Bumping into shame along the road to recovery has sent people right back into the stronghold of their addiction time and time again. Acceptance is like a huge ray of light that melts the shame away and turns it into a distant memory, giving a recovering person a better chance at living a sober and healthy life.

Hope

Hope is the beacon of light that leads people out of the black hole of despair. Hope presents new opportunities, a new direction that inspires people to make change in their lives. Hope moves people from contemplating change to taking steps of change toward a better life.

Someone struggling to stay sober often distrusts their own ability to “just say no” to a drink or drugs. They start to question their own conviction to stay sober. They start to lose faith in themselves. This is a scary and hopeless place to be.

The 12 step community offers people in this despairing place of self-doubt hope for a better life. The story of someone’s triumph starts to become the light at the end of another’s tunnel. Hope becomes the anchor to get through one more day without using a substance.

There are many ways to get sober, whether it is residential treatment and then aftercare, outpatient groups and individual therapy, 12-step recovery, Refuge Recovery, or SMART Recovery. In my experience, people who have gotten sober and stayed sober have a community of healthy people to lean on, have experienced the many flavors of acceptance, and have embraced hope as a tool for navigating the darkest times.

Lauran is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Orlando, Florida.  She specializes in working with people struggling with anxiety, trauma, and addiction.  Lauran is a somatic psychotherapist, and uses a body-oriented approach along with talk therapy when working with many of her clients.


Lauran is an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, FL. She also specializes in helping people heal old broken relationship patterns that keep them from finding, creating, and keeping healthy relationships with partners, friends, and family. Lauran uses a down to earth approach infused with cutting-edge therapies that go beyond traditional talking to help clients feel calm in their body and mind and find peace within themselves.