With science trying to crack the key to addiction to find a simple solution to this complicated disease, will we ever get to the point where sufferers will simply be able to go to the doctor, be prescribed a pill, and pronounce themselves cured?
There certainly is a place for scientific research in the field of addiction and the results of a 2007 British report released by neuroscientist Jeffrey W. Dalley and several colleagues in ScienceMag found that rats with fewer dopamine receptors are more likely to exhibit impulsive behavior, including using cocaine.
However, alcohol addiction treatment needs to include something more than just looking at the science of what happens to a client’s brain before he or she seeks help at a facility. The 12-step model is still being used for one very good reason: it helps people get and stay sober.
Working the 12 Steps as Part of Recovery
The first step on the road to recovery for someone who starts going to meetings is to admit that he or she is an alcoholic. Making this simple statement is a very simple and powerful act, since it often comes in the face of years of denial and lies about there being a problem at all.
The meetings are intended to be a safe place, and anything discussed in that context is supposed to remain private. Members are free to share anything they wish about their past or current struggles, fears, hopes, and triumphs when they start going to 12 step recovery meetings.
Simply being in a room with a group of people who understand exactly what it’s like to be an alcoholic creates a type of mental shorthand between members. They already have something in common that they can start to build on.
Other Steps in the Process
As time goes by and clients feel ready, they can move through the other steps in the program to find spiritual truth, accepting one’s own character defects, making a list of all those who have been harmed because of drinking, asking for forgiveness, and more. .Everyone works through the list of steps at their own pace. Sobriety is a lifestyle, and it’s not a specific destination or a goal that a client can achieve.
Unfortunately, there is no point at which someone can be pronounced “cured” from his or her addiction. Recovery is a lifelong process, and clients can continue to attend 12 step programs as often as they feel is necessary to get the help and support they need.
However, the good news is that addicts will learn how to live without drugs or alcohol, and the other destructive character defects they used to cover up their addiction. Addicts will learn how to live with increasing levels of peace and joy, while at the same time repairing the damage they have done to those they love most.