12 Step programs like AA, SAA, and OA have been the cornerstone of addiction recovery for decades. They have helped millions of people get sober from all areas of addiction. However, when relied upon as the only source of recovery, relapse rates are quite high.
Because 12 Step has been around the longest and is the largest institution of recovery many people get caught in the trap of believing it is the only path to recovery. 12 Step literature itself reminds us that this is not true, and in fact, 12 Step is intended to be included as part of a well-rounded recovery program not the entirety of it.
Is The illumitorium Recovery Tribe like 12 Step?
is the main question I get asked, so I wanted to take a minute to address that here.
The illumitorium Recovery Tribe is not like a 12 Step meeting or the 12 Step program of recovery. It can act as a great supplement to working that program or as what some have called the "graduate program of 12 Step."
There are many differences between 12 Step and The illumitorium, including:
1. How sobriety is viewed. In 12 Step sobriety is the end goal; however, we see it as just the beginning. Sobriety is crucial to a full life, but it does not itself create it. In The illumitoirum we each proactively work to co-create meaningful, happy, healthy, fulfilling lives - what I call the boldly satisfying life! Due to the unique elements of having addiction, we do this work with that background and biology in mind and use it to our advantage.
2. Unlike 12 Step, I don't believe there is anything wrong with us. I don't think we have defects, I see such things as simply traits and behaviors that are out of alignment with who we truly are. They are outdated tools that no longer serve us, but they are not defects in our characters or markers of something being wrong with us. What 12 Steps refers to as our "assets" and "defects", I think of as our "grown areas" and "growth areas".
3. Though a thoroughly worked 12 Step program can lead to many life changes and good healing, many people get stuck in just addressing the symptoms of addiction instead of the actual self beneath it. In The illumitorium, we focus on holistic transformation that addresses addiction but does not focus solely on it. Just as we are much more than the addiction, so must our healing be.
4. In 12 Step people are encouraged to claim being an addict as their identity - who they are, "Hi, I'm Jace, and I'm a sex addict." Though I absolutely understand why they have that be our identifier, it also reinforces addiction in the brain and mind. Having participated in 12 Step for several years, I personally proclaimed this thousands of times - each one adding to the programming of my subconscious mind that addiction is who I am, which subsequently kept showing up in my reality (as all things in the subconscious mind do). Unfortunately, it builds failure right into the foundation. In The illumitorium we don't pretend addiction isn't part of our experience, we simply don't accept that it is who we are as people.
5. We don't just work a program of recovery, illuminators walk the path of self-mastery. Yes, we do work specific to sobriety, but we don't stop there. The work we do is intended to give us what we need on every level to free ourselves from addiction entirely and create lives so satisfying only the bold ever attempt them.
6. As part of the Tribe, members work a guided path of self-mastery that includes weekly lessons and assignments, which can be done at your convenience and pace in the membership portal. Some of the lessons focus on addiction directly, while others explore our lives, selves, choices, relationships, needs, desires, goals, finances, routines, creativity, fun, etc. All lessons are created specifically with addiction science in mind so that we can use it to our advantage in our transformation, not our obstacle to it.
7. During our weekly Tribe sessions, people have a chance to discuss the lesson they're on, obstacles they're coming up against, successes they've experienced, questions they have or current circumstances they are struggling with. Unlike 12 Step meetings where no feedback is given, I facilitate these sessions and guide people through what they are working on. Much like 12 Step meetings this is a shame-free, no judgment zone where we all embrace one another wherever we are, whoever we are. Together we explore, discover, strive, heal, grow and celebrate. Together we THRIVE.
8. Every member will have access to our private online community to engage with between sessions. Here people can check-in, get accountability, ask for help, share wins, grab quick tools/resources, and connect with other powerful warriors on this heroic journey.
12 Step really does have a special and important role in the recovery process and in my own journey. I genuinely owe it my life. Though I no longer agree with everything included there, I think it's a program every person could benefit from at some point in their life. We're all recovering from something, right?!
If you believe 12 Step could be a beneficial part of your recovery, I recommend looking up meetings in your area. Trust me, there's a 12 Step group for everything these days!
Tried 12 Step and didn't dig it? Working it right now and want something more? Come check out The illumitorium Recovery Tribe where we don't just focus on the symptoms of addiction but empower the self beneath it!
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