A Two-Pronged Approach
Evidence-Based Therapy & 12-Step Immersion

At Guardian Recovery Network, some of our facilities utilize a two-prong approach to addiction recovery. Firstly, these designated centers utilize research-based clinical therapeutic methods. Secondly, they utilize what Guardian calls 12-step Immersion.

Not all our centers utilize 12-Step Immersion, but if you or a loved one are interested in this method, it can be very effective for many individuals.

Evidence-Based Clinical Methods

At Guardian Recovery Network we have a world-class team of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and case managers who all help our clients heal using the best research-based methodologies available in their respective fields. Some of these methodologies include: medication assisted treatment (MAT); cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); dialectical behavioral therapy (BDT); dual-diagnosis treatment; eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR); holistic treatments such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness; and intensive individual, family and group therapy.

12-Step Immersion

In addition to these therapeutic methods, some of our treatment centers offer what we call 12-Step Immersion — which is a way to introduce clients to working the 12-Steps of recovery. Many individuals seeking treatment have tried the 12-Step method before without success. However, working the 12-Steps in a structured environment with professional support while simultaneously participating in therapy can be a powerful method to treat addiction. 

What is Guardian’s 12 Step Immersion Approach & Why Is It Important?

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have helped more individuals get and stay sober than any other recovery program in the world. According to a recent study published by Stanford Medicine, Alcoholics Anonymous was found to be “the most effective path to abstinence” and up to 60 percent more effective than other methods of intervention. AA currently has an estimated 2 million recognized members in 180 nations and more than 118,000 groups across the globe. The “big book” of AA — the main text book for the program — has been translated into 70 languages; and AA literature has been translated into more than 100. Numerous offshoots of AA  — including Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous —  utilize AA’s 12 steps. Considering AA started in only 1935, this type of rapid worldwide growth is truly remarkable.

So why has AA had such success? The obvious answer is that it works. As AA’ers put it — “It works if you work it.” Unfortunately AA’s program is  often pre-judged and pre-dismissed by many individuals who have either tried AA before without success, or have a misunderstanding of what AA really is. Many think AA is just about going to meetings and griping endlessly about alcohol. But the program is really about working, in an intense and heartfelt way, the 12 steps of recovery while in fellowship with other sober people where an individual can be of service to others. 

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The AA Triple Threat

There are three main components to the AA program — three arms of the AA triangle — all equally important. The first is unity — the fellowship of AA. This is where the meetings come in. In AA we build a sense of community, belonging and friendship. The second is service — this is about being of service to other human beings, which grows one sense of purpose, meaning and self esteem. Addiction drives us to ugly forms of selfishness, but in recovery we find out how rewarding being of service to others is — it feeds our souls in a way no drug or drink every could. 

And the third is recovery  — which is about the transformation that comes by working the 12 steps. The 12 steps are a process of transformation which require honesty with oneself and others, a willingness to right wrongs from the past and an openness to finding our own sense of spirituality. By working the 12 steps, a person undergoes the personal transformation essential to maintaining long-lasting recovery.

The AA triangle also represents the idea that alcoholism and addiction is a three-part malady — spiritual, mental and physical. Without addressing all three — the mind, the body and the spirit — an addict or alcoholic has little chance of long-term recovery. The 12 steps address all three.

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Traditionally in AA an individual finds what is called a “sponsor.” A sponsor simply put is just a mentor or guide to take you through the process of working the 12 steps as laid out in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. At some of Guardian Recovery Network’s select 12-Step based facilities, our clients get what we call “a 12 step contact.” This person is kind of like a professional sponsor. Our 12 step contacts are compassionate, caring individuals in recovery themselves who have extensive experience guiding people through the 12 steps. When an individual seeks treatment at one of Guardian’s 12-Step immersion programs, not only do they work extensively with a therapist and doctor, they also work intensively with their 12-Step contact to help them work the steps. By working the steps in a treatment setting, our clients have the accountability, support and community they need to help them persevere through the rough spots. 

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Why Should I Be in a 12 Step Immersion
Treatment Program Rather Than Just Going to AA Myself?

Many individuals have tried to do AA on their own and not completed the steps. When we try to do AA on our own, life often gets in the way. We get distracted by work, family, school and life. Or emotions crop up that are too overwhelming to deal with so we bail. Or we just don’t have the accountability to stick with it. There are many reasons why individuals sometimes have trouble completing the 12 Steps while going to AA on their own. Guardian Recovery Network’s select 12-Step Immersion facilities help individuals get through the bulk of the steps in a structured environment while being supported by psychiatrists, therapists, counselors and other clients. We have found that working the steps this way before an individual has completely free reign of their life in the real world is extremely beneficial. Many of our clients have said that they tried to complete the 12 Steps and go to AA numerous times with no success. It’s not that AA didn’t work for them — it was just they needed a little extra help to follow through with working the steps of the program. That’s exactly what Guardian Recovery Network’s 12-Step Immersion process does.

In addition to helping clients get through the steps, we also encourage 12-step involvement in the outside world as a vital part of continuing care. This is because the “rooms of AA” are going to be the ongoing support network for our clients as they transition back into full, abundant lives outside of treatment. 

An article published by the National Library of Medicine found that men and women who remained actively engaged in Alcoholics Anonymous 18 months after their initial treatment programs had concluded had rates of abstinence that were more than twice as high as men and women who failed to continue with AA after treatment. This is just one of many scientific studies that points toward the efficacy of AA as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan.

To learn more about the 12-Steps, you can read our 12-Steps Explained guide here.

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    If you or someone you love has been suffering from an untreated substance abuse disorder or has struggled to stay sober in the past, Guardian Recovery Network is available to help. Our comprehensive continuum of clinical care provides several stages of treatment including medically monitored detox, inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient treatment. Beginning your personal journey of addiction recovery — or helping your loved one get started on his or hers — is as simple as picking up the phone and contacting us today. The moment you do we begin developing a plan for intake, which includes completing a brief pre-assessment over the phone in order to determine which level of care best meets your personal needs. Once the pre-assessment is complete we go over potential coverage options. At Guardian Recovery Network we work closely with most major regional and national health insurance providers and offer free no obligation health insurance benefit checks. Finally we set a date for intake and arrange reliable transportation.

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