12 steps in recovery, substance abuse recovery, 12-step program in recovery

How The GateHouse Utilizes the 12-Step Program in Recovery Treatment

There’s so much that goes into recovery treatment at The GateHouse.

From our compassionate staff and counselors to our beautiful residential extended care homes to the solemnity of our newly unveiled Serenity Gardens, our goal is to build a community that supports our clients as they embark on their recovery journey.

And serving as the foundation for that journey is The GateHouse’s unique approach to the 12-Step Program.

For many treatment programs focused on recovery from substance use disorder, 12-step programs are a critical key to success. In general, these sequential programs are designed to not only help individuals overcome substance abuse but also sustain their sobriety and lead a healthy life in recovery.

Most often, the 12 steps are grounded in a submission to a higher power, whether that be God or other types of spirituality.

At The GateHouse, our 12-step program serves as a core element for the personalized recovery treatment our clients receive from us. Each step moves them closer to living life in recovery. Here’s how we utilize these important steps.

The GateHouse Guides Clients Through Steps 1, 2, and 3 of the 12-Step Program

The GateHouse borrows its 12-step program from Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Not only are both programs well-known and trusted by the broader recovery community, but their investment in restoring the human spirit through comprehensive treatment aligns with the mission of The GateHouse.

The first three steps of the 12-step program are core components of The GateHouse’s Residential Extended Care (REC) program. When embarking on the first step, clients attend 12-step program meetings with The GateHouse’s counselors and receive plenty of direction and encouragement. The counselors also help clients establish outside support, including finding a sponsor and other support systems within the broader 12-step community.

While treatment is always tailored to our client’s needs and what can help them most in recovery, the 12-step program is the guiding light of a client’s stay in residential extended care. Here’s what a typical 12-step program looks like at The GateHouse.

The First Step

“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

~ Alcoholics Anonymous Step 1

Treatment in step one focuses on unpacking what individuals feel powerless over. During this step, individuals are encouraged to reflect on when their life became unmanageable and what toxic behaviors, such as blacking out or becoming enraged, interfered in their day-to-day lives. Clients and staff use worksheets designed to facilitate this crucial first step in the program.

Step one is an opportunity to gain insight into how the client’s behaviors resulted in the undesired outcomes that led to their recovery, such as putting one’s kids in danger or compromising personal values.

The ultimate goal of step one is gaining self-awareness.

The Second Step

“We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

~ Alcoholics Anonymous Step 2

In step two, the focus shifts to creating a belief system and instilling faith in a higher power.

Once again, this higher power can be God, nature, or any other type of spiritual connection. The goal is to establish a belief system that can help with distorted thinking and promote internal growth.

At The GateHouse, when clients enter step two, they also gain more independence. Clients are given permission to attend 12-step meetings with their sponsor and even schedule off-site activities with them, such as grabbing lunch or coffee.

The Third Step

“We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.”

~ Alcoholics Anonymous Step 3

As clients move into step three, they begin to plan for their recovery journey once they leave The GateHouse.

Step three focuses on surrendering to a higher power and “radical acceptance.” It’s geared towards achieving peace of mind as clients make decisions about where life will take them next. In this phase, clients are given even more agency regarding communication with their 12-step sponsor.

At this point, it’s important for clients to get a sense of how they will remain committed to 12-step recovery once they leave The GateHouse.

Building a Community and Establishing a Support System is Key During these First Three Steps

As Tara Drury, Clinical Director at The GateHouse’s Marietta Residential Treatment Center, explains, “We want clients to start to build a support system while they’re here so they can form a foundation for recovery. That way, when they’re discharged, they can take the tools they’ve acquired during the first three steps of the program and apply them.”

Finding the right sponsor and support group is key to success in the program, and The GateHouse can help guide individuals towards the right fellowship.

“At The GateHouse, we support and encourage our clients to become active in the 12-step community,” Tara said. “It’s those relationships that will help them stay on the path to long-term recovery well after they leave The GateHouse.”

The GateHouse’s 12-Step Program Helps Clients Find Their Way to Lifelong Recovery

Healing from substance use disorder takes inner strength—something our programs help to instill.

“Our 12-step program helps each client not only get onto a path to recovery but also grow as an individual as they overcome their past behaviors,” Tara said. “When our clients accept and surrender to a higher power, they develop the peace of mind and strength they need to live a healthy, happy life in recovery.”

At The GateHouse, we create a support system for each of our clients to break the cycle of addiction and get them on a path to recovery, including services for long-term recovery with locations throughout Lancaster County, PA. We’d love to help you with your next step in recovery. Reach out to us today!


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