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Benefits of 12-Step Peer Support

As a young person impacted by addiction, your son will need significant social support in order to stay on the path of recovery. Especially during teen years, when the need for social connection is high and self-identity is just forming, young men look to their peer group for validation and acceptance. For teens living in a world where risk-taking and substance use are too often the norm, this need for social connection can be directly at odds with a commitment to recovery.

12-step peer support groups for young adults offer a safe and nurturing community in which your son can form social bonds and explore relationships with others who are committed to a life of healthy choices. Muir Wood boys are actively involved in 12-step groups, attending groups in the community six nights per week (four of which are specific young people’s groups), with an on-site meeting or 12-step speaker on the seventh night.

We believe that active participation in 12-step communities while in treatment is critical for young men’s long-term sobriety. This participation provides your son:

  • Positive reinforcement from other teens who are choosing a life of recovery
  • The daily structure and reinforcement necessary in early recovery
  • The chance to learn how to have fun without substance use
  • The opportunity to find a potential sponsor while in treatment
  • Coping strategies for recovery outside of residential treatment
  • The opportunity to learn the value of being of service to others
  • The chance to build confidence and leadership skills through organizing groups, leading meetings, and eventually acting as a sponsor
  • A sustainable support system that can be easily accessed in just about any community throughout the country

The 12-Steps for Teens

In addition to active community participation in 12-step peer support groups, the young men at Muir Wood work the 12-steps in their daily lives on campus. While many boys do not identify themselves as “addicts,” they do tend to agree that aspects of their lives have become unmanageable—the central theme of Step 1. The boys are guided by their teachers and therapists to work through daily struggles using the principles and wisdom of the 12-steps, whether they are facing addiction-related issues or learning to manage difficult relationships, academic challenges or personal conflict.

The spiritual foundation of the 12-steps is explored without reference to any particular religious tradition. Rather, boys are challenged to develop their own sense of a personal “higher power,” along with the internal strength and character to make decisions that align with their best selves.