Tennessee Addiction Resources: Working a Program of Recovery


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Roughly 10% of all people in Tennessee will suffer from alcoholism or addiction at some point in their lives.  Many of those people will seek help in an addiction treatment facility, while others will solve the problem through other means.  In either case once a person is clean and sober it is recommended that they work some kind of ongoing program of addiction recovery.  Working a program of recovery is unique to each person but there are some common routes people take.  In this post we will discuss the various addiction recovery programs people incorporate into their lives to prevent a relapse into active addiction or active alcoholism.     

Since 1935 the, when AA or Alcoholics Anonymous was first founded there has been 12 step recovery.  Since AA was started there have been various other 12 step fellowships founded by recovering addicts and alcoholics who decided there was a unique need for a different fellowship and program. 

Working a Program of Addiction Recovery in AA or Alcoholics Anonymous

AA is a program of recovery based on 12 steps. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a path to spiritual and moral transformation.  The steps cover getting in touch with a Higher Power, making an inventory of an individual’s life of wrongdoing and resentments, making amends to all who may have been wronged or harmed during their active alcoholism, growing in honesty and integrity and growing their relationship with a Higher Power through prayer, meditation and ongoing inventory of daily activity.

The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is a huge international community and is expressed through regular meetings in cities and rural towns all over the world. The meetings allow a place for members to socialize, learn about the twelve steps, seek counsel on personal problems, explore spiritual topics and discuss many other subjects of recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous has 12 traditions that define the behavior of members and the structure of meetings. The 12 traditions were created to protect the anonymity of its members, to prevent dilution of the program’s spiritual principles and to maintain its autonomous and self-funded status.  The traditions are protected by elected service members through General Service Committees.

AA claims a success rate of 50% of all people who engage fully in the program and work the steps. 

Working a Program of Addiction Recovery in NA or Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous was founded in 1953 and its first edition of its Basic Text was published in 1983. NA was founded to support anyone with a substance abuse problem, including illegal or prescription drugs or alcohol, in their desire to live a sober life.

The NA approach mirrors the AA 12-step model in most ways, with a few exceptions. One major difference is in the wording of the first step. In AA, the first step states, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol,” while the NA first step states, “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction.”

While the 12 steps of both NA and AA discuss God or a “higher power,” NA strongly encourages members to individually determine what that means to them. NA promotes a strong focus on such spiritual principles as “honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.”

Both programs encourage members to recognize the pain they’ve caused themselves and others, to make amends to those they’ve hurt, to work to heal damaged relationships, and to help others to overcome their addiction. Peer support is an integral part of both programs, and the therapeutic value of members working with other members has been supported by multiple studies.

Other 12 Step Addiction Recovery Programs

Since the success of both Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous there have been several other 12 step fellowships created.  These include but are not limited to Drug Addicts Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery.

Addiction Recovery through Drug Addicts Anonymous

Drug Addicts Anonymous is very similar to AA and NA in that its foundation is the twelve steps.  It is unique in that its membership is primarily drug addicts, but they use the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as its text of reference. While DAA is fairly new, meetings are popping up all over the US. Drug Addicts Anonymous also maintains a set of traditions and core principles.  Similarly to NA and AA there is an elected board of trusted servants.

Addiction Recovery through Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from their addiction.  Members are typically people who have struggled with cocaine addiction; however, all addicts are welcome to their meetings.  They have regular meetings all over the country.  CA also uses the 12 steps as a foundation to their recovery program and the 12 traditions as a foundation to their fellowship.

Addiction Recovery through Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate recovery is a biblically balanced approach to help bring sustainable recovery and healing.  It guides people toward new healthy truths and life-giving habits as they repair broken relationships. Celebrate Recovery also uses the 12 steps as a foundation but through a Christian perspective.

Addiction Recovery Through SMART Recovery

SMART stands for Self Management and Recovery Training.  SMART Recovery is an evidenced-informed recovery method grounded in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), that supports people with substance dependencies. It works to build and maintain motivation, cope with urges and cravings, manage thoughts, feelings and behaviors and to live a balanced life.  SMART Recovery members also attend meetings and enjoy fellowship with other recovering members.

Whether a person chooses to participate in a post addiction treatment recovery program is entirely up to them.  The results and success rates of these fellowships and programs recommend that it’s not a bad idea even if it’s for a period of time.   Any positive action a person takes towards their recovery will help so long as it is moving away from a life of active drinking or using and encouraging positive growth in all areas of their life. If you are in need of treatment for substance abuse or alcoholism visit: Magnolia Ranch Recovery

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Picture of Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP
Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP

Experienced Clinical Director with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in Anger Management, Healthcare, Medicine, EMDR, and Life Transitions. Strong healthcare services professional with a Masters Degree focused in Psychology from The University of Memphis.

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