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12-Step Visits to Detox is an Old Tradition

Bill D. was A.A. member number three. He was a lawyer and former city councilman. His drinking had gotten so bad that he was hospitalized eight times in six months. He had punched two nurses and had to be restrained in his bed. During his last hospital stay, he was visited by two men, Bob Smith and Bill Wilson, who wanted to try out their new treatment for alcoholism.

They certainly weren’t the first to try to convince Bill D. to stop drinking. He already knew what drinking was doing to him and that if he didn’t want to quit he at least should want to. What made Bob and Bill different from other good samaritans was that they were asking for his help. Years later, Bill D. would say,  “All the other people that talked to me wanted to help ME, and my pride prevented me from listening to them, and caused only resentment on my part, but I felt as if I would be a real stinker if I did not listen to a couple of fellows for a short time, if that would cure THEM.”

Bill D. left the hospital on July 4, 1935 and never drank again. That date has become known as the first A.A. meeting.

This sense of group responsibility is central to the effectiveness of A.A. In its 12 Traditions, number five is “Each group has but one primary purpose–to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” This isn’t mere proselytism, but rather an integral part of the process. It isn’t only to help the alcoholic, but the recovering alcoholic as well.

In A.A.’s 12 Promises, number five is “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.” We typically think of the times we’ve gone “far down the scale” with shame and regret. Using that experience to help others instead of ruminating on it alone is a powerful way to reframe our mistakes. A mistake can be an asset instead of a regret. What’s instructive for the alcoholic is cathartic for the recovering alcoholic because it lets her engage constructively with her past instead of pretending it never happened.

Visiting people in detox is not a favor but a trade. For the person in detox, it begins the process of mutual aid. She learns from someone else’s mistakes and she helps someone else continue his recovery by reaching out.

Gardens Wellness Center is redefining the approach to detox. Our comfortable environment is designed to support the detox process while helping each client recognize their human dignity in recovery. Detox is the first step in recovery. Start your journey to wellness today by calling us for information:  (844) 325-9168