Alcohol is the product of fermentation of grains, fruits or vegetables where naturally occurring sugars are transformed. The production of commercial and home based products includes the addition of sugar to increase the yield of alcohol. Naturally fermented alcohol products can contain 4-6% alcohol by volume but as the alcohol content increases, the yeast that produces it starts to die. Sometimes these products have a low percentage of alcohol and are refined. Alcohol can be distilled to increase the potency of the product by removing the alcohol. Simple wines and beer might have only two to six percent alcohol content, but distilled products can be as much as 100% pure.
Alcohol is a mind altering substance that affects the way we think and behave. In lower doses consumers will report mild feelings of euphoria and lower inhibitions. With sustained usage, the consumer can become dependent on alcohol. What causes the consumption to become a problem is sometimes subjective. Many heavy users report no ill effects and some eventually grow tired of the lifestyle where alcohol consumption is prevalent. Alcohol is a powerful drug and some users will change their view and seek help. Others might experience a series of events that lead them to understand the drug has become a problem, causing them to seek help.
Increasing usage and dependence can lead to the disease of alcohol addiction, or substance abuse problem. Some will view this alcohol dependence as a problem. Alcoholics can become dependent on the drug and sudden withdrawal can be dangerous, even resulting in death. Carefully consulting with professionals is recommended for any alcoholic who wishes to stop drinking at the extreme levels of the disease. Addiction recovery is a recognized disease that affects those who use alcohol. Professionals will often view a rehab, treatment center or detox facility as an important first step to getting help. Alcoholism is a difficult disease to watch someone you care about suffer from but most individuals who drink do not experience any long term issues with drug addiction despite periods of heavy usage. Treatment and detox is often recommended by professionals in the worst situations but some view early intervention as a way of avoiding the worst case scenarios. Some users are aware of the 12 step programs and even some professionals are also recommending a review of the steps to help those who suffer from alcohol abuse issues. Some individuals view the steps as the first and only solution to the problem of alcohol abuse.
The 12 Steps
The first twelve step Fellowship was Alcoholics Anonymous and designed to help those individuals who identified as alcoholic. When a person comes to view themselves as an alcoholic and makes the decision to start recovering from the disease is a difficult time. Many will view this as a difficult transition. Anyone who has a desire to stop drinking alcohol can join AA. Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of recovery for those who identify as alcoholic and wish to remain anonymous. Most major population centers in the world have active Alcoholics Anonymous fellowships. This was a new concept and those who saw their alcohol consumption as a problem might not have had the view that alcohol was a drug and subject to abuse. The adoption of the 12 step process was the first successful and repeatable program of recovery from alcohol abuse that had ever existed. The steps offered those who suffered a new view of the disease and treatment became possible.
The first step in the 12 step process adopted by AA is to recognize that you are powerless over alcohol and that your life has become unmanageable. Each step progresses the individual in their recovery until all 12 steps are completed. The abuse of alcohol can become a problem for any individual, and when they seek help, the most successful 12 step model has been the AA program. This was started in the 1930’s and has rapidly grown to the largest 12 step program in the world and is the basis of many other 12 step programs that exist today. Many who suffer from drug abuse are able to find recovery in many urban centers around the world due to the 12 steps program. Other programs have emerged, like Narcotics Anonymous, which is the second largest 12 steps program in the world. Regardless of the path, many are finding recovery programs and often it is based on the steps as a solution.
For a long time addiction was thought to be an incurable illness or moral failing. Early attempts to assist those who suffered were not always successful and often any success was difficult to duplicate. There were very few centers that offered any kind of treatment. Many things changed with the development of the 12 step program by Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s. Alcoholics found themselves working together in small groups to help other alcoholics find sobriety by learning the steps. These groups spread throughout the United States as membered learned and worked the steps into their lives. Many found help and this view inspired them to help others find a solution in the steps. Growing pains became evident and AA developed the 12 Traditions to help groups remain focused and help prevent some of the problems groups were finding in working with each other and within the group. Large urban centers in the United States were the first to experience the program but now Alcoholics Anonymous is available worldwide.
Other programs emerged and Narcotics Anonymous is based on the idea that the disease of addiction is the source of the problem for many suffering addicts. NA has become the second largest 12 step fellowship in the world. They view alcohol as a drug and seek to help those who suffer from drug abuse by finding a new way to live.
Recovery has become possible. Those who seek help will find that these programs offer hope. Alcohol abuse can become a destructive force in someone’s life. The view that once someone was suffering from some form of alcohol abuse they were hopelessly lost is no longer true. Today there are many options and many programs help centers for those who seek recovery. These centers for drug abuse treatment, including alcohol are widely accepted and offer hope for so many today.
Addiction is defined as a brain disease that manifests as obsession with certain ideas and behaviors as well as a compulsion to act upon that obsession. Addiction is often characterized by the use of substances like alcohol or other drugs but can involve behaviors like sex, gambling or shopping. Many of these thoughts and behaviors can be considered normal, but when they start to interfere with the ability to function in everyday life, or become destructive, society will often classify them as addiction. Alcohol is the most commonly used drug and alcoholics are the largest population of those who suffer from addiction, but some find their addictive nature is pervasive in all aspects of their lives.
Recovery is possible today using a wide variety of options. Some will explore treatment centers or recovery houses. Others will adapt their lives using 12 step programs that deal specifically with alcohol addiction like Alcoholics Anonymous but others find their way into other 12 step fellowships like Narcotics Anonymous.
Treatment for the Disease
During the early 19th century, most available treatment programs for those addicted to substances like alcohol and morphine were reserved for the worst cases. Treatment was found in major centers. In the United States addicts were classified as and other forms of mental illness found treatment in institutions, some were lobotomized, sterilized, imprisoned and some attempts were made to find solutions. In Kentucky was the Lexington Center, a federal initiative to learn more about treatment options. New York had the affluent Charles B. Towns Hospital, and Boston had the Emmanuel movement, a popular Christian based solution.
By the 1950’s, with the success of AA came the Minnesota Model for treatment that employed aspects of AA’s successful program. The vast majority of treatment options available today are based on the Minnesota Model; a self help model utilizing group therapy and behavioral changes. Also available starting in the 1950’s were pharmaceuticals. Antabuse (Disulfiram), Methadone, amphetamines, barbiturates and even LSD were used to treat alcoholism and other addictions. Other 12 Step fellowships have grown in popularity and the number of groups in AA as well as others have increased. Treatment options have grown. Rehab and detox facilities are better equipped to assist individuals with withdrawal since 12 step fellowships generally do not offer treatment or rehab. There are residential treatment programs that accept patients on an ongoing basis and these locations operate like any other business.
More Than One Model of Success
In the 1930’s, the choices were very different from today. Those in the late stages of the disease were doomed to institutions, jails and eventually death. Alcoholics Anonymous opened the door to the idea that Alcoholics could recover. This encouraged others to explore that those who suffered from addiction were not hopelessly lost. By the 1950’s new programs were established that incorporated the ideas from Alcoholics Anonymous, and the pharmaceutical industry had started to develop treatments for a variety of issues, including addiction.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a recovery program of anonymity. Members will try and create an environment where anyone who identifies as an alcoholic is free to share their experiences. Individuals need to feel comfortable sharing what is happening in their lives. When people are new is when they are the most vulnerable. Those who are familiar with the program try to focus on the principles of the program rather than the personalities. This allows others to experience a new way of living. The application of principles is important to recovery in 12 step programs. The principles that are learned and applied are meant to be free of individuality. One of the centers to the 12 step program of recovery is in working through the steps.
Are 12 Step Programs effective for Alcohol Recovery?
12 step recovery for alcoholics began with Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s. The program found success but the anonymous nature of the program prevented any kind of statistics from being collected. In 1953, Narcotics Anonymous adapted the program to help those who identified as having problems with all substances, including alcohol. Almost every one of the major urban centers in the world have 12 step meetings available for recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Alcohol is the most commonly used drug on the planet. Alcohol users who experienced issues with addiction are able to find recovery now. The early success of AA lead to other treatment options and other 12 step programs. Many are recovering today due to 12 step programs.
Alcoholics Find Success in the 12 Steps
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances. It’s legal in most parts of the world and a standard in many cultures. Those who suffer from alcoholism have long struggled to find a solution. It was AA that provided an answer. By working with other Alcoholics, a solution that was both effective, transformative and transferable. Regardless of the level of difficulty, many have found this as a viable solution. By working together, and trying to attract new members,