Have you started the process of your recovery but don’t know where to start?  Have you spoke with others about how they were able to put an end to using substances or stop gambling?  Perhaps they have been successful by going to 12 Step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous. You also know others that say Residential Treatment or Day Treatment worked for them and it’s the only way.  How do you know if the 12 Step Approach is the right path to recovery for you?

The only way to know is to go to a Meeting!  During this time as you start your recovery you’re going to need to try new things, start new habits and meet new people that are also in recovery to support you through the process.  This means stepping out of your comfort zone perhaps to attend an AA meeting for the first time because you don’t know unless you try.  The only thing really required to attend a meeting is a willingness to stop using substances and an open mind.  So, if you tried substances with that all too familiar phase “I will try anything once” then think of attending your first meeting with that very same attitude. 

The 12 Step Approach is a very spiritual approach to recovery which is not for everyone.  Some of the guiding principles of the 12 Steps include- but are not limited to:

  • admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion
  • recognizing a higher power  (or God of your understanding) that can give strength
  • examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member)
  • making amends for these errors
  • learning to live a new life with a new code of behaviour
  • helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions

Keep in mind that even if you don’t feel like you belong at your first AA or NA meeting, but still open or curious about the 12 Step Approach- that there is likely more than one meeting to attend in your area.  Typically there are 2-3 available meetings a day in the Niagara Region and each group has a different combination of people that go on a regular basis that help the process of finding the right group where you feel like you belong.

Instead of thinking of the recovery approach as black or white, think of it more like shades of grey.  Some people have been successful in recovery by only using the 12 Step approach.  Some people have been successful with simply attending Day Treatment or Residential Treatment centres, while many people are actually most successful with a combination of both! Be open to the idea of attending a few 12 Step meetings in combination with other counselling or treatment approaches. 

For more information about 12 Step meetings in Niagara please go to:

AA Meetings: http://www.aaniagara.org/meetings.html

NA Meetings: http://niagarana.com/meetings.html

GA Meetings: http://niagara.cioc.ca/record/NIA3907


Wishing you growth and success on your recovery path…

~ The Staff at CASON ~