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The Benefits of 12-Step Meetings

There are various recovery approaches out there. One of the most widely known approaches is the 12-Step model, first coined by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and now used widely over many different programs. 12-Step programs have been around a long time and have helped many people get sober. A significant part of 12-Step programs is attending meetings. However, you may be wondering if this approach to recovery is right for you. Learning about the benefits of 12-Step meetings can help you identify if these programs are worth a try!

History of the 12-Step Model

The 12-Steps originated in 1938 from Bill Wilson as a part of AA. Wilson struggled with alcoholism when he developed the idea that those dealing with addiction could be positively affected by sharing their stories with other people struggling with addiction. 

The steps were further developed through concepts and teachings he came across, including a six-step program from a Christian organization known as the Oxford Group. The Christian influence formed the idea that seeking help from a greater power (any greater power) and leaning on peers suffering from similar addictions could ultimately lead to addiction maintenance and recovery. Wilson wrote his ideas down in the Big Book, which would later become the entire program model.

The 12-Steps are now used in various programs, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Heroin Anonymous (HA), Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), and more. 

What Do 12-Step Meetings Look Like?

Different meetings have different ways of doing things. However, they are run similarly for the most part. That said, there are many meetings for different types of people, whether business executives, women, young adults, pilots, or medical professionals, and each will have its own feel. 

In some meetings, people are randomly called on to speak. The reasoning behind this is that it prevents the same people from always sharing and overriding the more shy, quieter people. The meeting might also be a Step Meeting, with the chairperson announcing which step they will be discussing. After the step chapter is read from the book, the chairperson asks if anyone has any experience, strength, or hope relating to the step they would like to share. 

In meetings where people are not randomly called on, they can share at their own will. Each starts with a person introducing themselves as, “Hello, my name is (first name) and I’m an alcoholic or addict.” Just as in the movies, everyone responds with, “Hello (first name)!” After they complete their share, everyone in the room thanks them. Then the next person can speak up. 

A Sober Community

Perhaps the most significant benefit of going to 12-Step meetings is they provide a ready-made sober community. A strong sober network is one of the best predictors of a successful recovery and it’s also one of the biggest challenges people face when they start recovery. Most of their old friends still use drugs and alcohol and it’s often hard to meet new people. Going to 12-Step meetings provides social contact with others who share your sobriety goals and are often willing to help you out when you feel stressed or tempted to use substances. 


Another advantage of 12-Step meetings is that they’re everywhere. Nearly every city has at least one 12-Step meeting. Accessibility to meetings removes the excuse for not participating and makes participating extremely convenient. There is probably a meeting within walking distance in many cities, making it easy to incorporate into your day.

Staying Committed to Recovery

Going to meetings regularly is an excellent way to keep renewing your commitment to recovery. Just as people go to church every week to be reminded of their values and beliefs and see their fellow parishioners, going to a 12-Step meeting regularly reminds you of the many hard-earned lessons you’ve learned in recovery. It also reminds you why working hard to stay sober is so important. 

Provide Structure

It’s not good to have too much unstructured time early in recovery. Boredom and isolation often lead to cravings–when you feel bored, you may be tempted to use drugs and alcohol to fill your time. Having somewhere to be regularly and seeing others who support your recovery gives your day structure and keeps you grounded.

A Chance to Help Others

12-Step meetings are also an opportunity to be of service. Volunteering, even in a small way, improves your self-esteem and sense of gratitude. It helps you get outside your own head, forget your problems, and focus on helping others instead. 


There are various approaches to addiction recovery. However, one of the most widely known methods is 12-Step programs. There are many types of 12-Step programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and more. Despite there being different types of programs, they all have something in common: regular meetings. Attending meetings is a significant part of participating in a 12-Step program. Meetings can provide you with a sober community, structure, and an opportunity to help others. They are also highly accessible and help you stay committed to your recovery. If you are still unsure if a 12-Step program is right for you, reach out to RECO Intensive. At RECO, we believe that recovery is a lifelong journey. We have developed an incredible community of support through our alumni program, aiming to introduce clients to the limitless possibilities that life in recovery can create. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (561) 464-6533.

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