The Retreat NZ is a private alcohol rehab centre grounded in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Due to the long-term proven success of A.A., we find that by introducing our guests to the 12 Steps and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous they are better set up for success upon leaving rehab as they’ve made the connection with an ongoing, wrap-around support system.  


Rehabilitation centres like ours play an important role in helping people find recovery, however once people leave our 30 day residential programme or sober living houses, they will need ongoing support, which is where the 12 Step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous and the fellowship come in.

How does A.A. help you stay sober?

A.A. provides you with a sober community

Research indicates that having a strong social support system increases your chances of maintaining long-term sobriety. A.A. is a sober community that offers support and understanding. When people first get sober they often find it difficult to be in their old drinking environment or around people who are heavy drinkers or actively using substances.  A.A. provides a safe space with people who understand what you’re going through and who can share their experience and provide encouragement.


A.A. sets you up with structure and purpose

The 12 Step programme in itself is a set of actions, which if taken, allows the alcoholic to find freedom from alcohol and live a sober life. The Steps are a framework for living and working through these with a sponsor or in a study group teaches you skills to tackle life without needing to pick up a drink. Attending A.A. meetings also helps provide structure and many A.A. members attend regular meetings as part of their weekly routine.


A.A. gives you a sense of accountability

The support system within A.A. encourages people to stay committed to their sober goals, which in turn makes them more accountable. It keeps them from giving in to temptations or triggers that might come up along the way. Having a sponsor and a home group (an A.A. meeting you choose as your primary ‘home’ meeting) and taking service commitments within A.A., helps keep you accountable with the added bonus of feeling a part of.


A.A. emphasises a spiritual solution

The 12 Step program of A.A. places a strong emphasis on the importance of spiritual support in overcoming alcoholism. Members are encouraged to develop a connection with their higher power, however A.A. has no religious affiliations, nor does it demand you believe in any one concept of a higher power. Members are free to develop their own understanding of what this means to them – it is about finding something greater than themselves that can provide strength during challenging times.


A.A. empowers you to take responsibility for your recovery

The 12 Steps empower you to become an active participant in your recovery. No one tells you what to do in A.A. (although there are suggestions) and you are encouraged to take responsibility for your alcoholism and recovery. This mindset shift, from feeling like a helpless victim to an agent of change, helps you develop effective strategies for managing the temptations that may arise along the path.


A.A. is easily accessible

Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship with meetings and groups in almost every corner of the globe. There are even A.A. meetings online which you can attend at almost any time of the day or night. This type of convenience removes any barriers and makes sure that support can be found whenever it’s needed.


A.A. allows you to help others

One of the unique features of the 12 Step programme of A.A. is that it provides an opportunity for you to help others on their recovery journey. This act of service not only benefits others but also reinforces your own commitment to long-term recovery. Having taken the 12 Steps you have an understanding of the problem and the programme of action to bring about the solution, which means you are uniquely placed to help other alcoholics.

What to expect when you’re in a 12 Step programme

As you work through the 12 Step programme with a sponsor (someone who has worked through the process and can show you what to do), you will usually attend multiple A.A. meetings per week for consistent support. In time, the frequency of the meetings you attend may change based on your needs.


Each meeting and group will be run slightly differently so it’s worth attending as many different meetings as you can to find ones that you like. At each meeting you can expect the following;


  • The meeting will usually have a chair person who will lead the meeting, welcome people and encourage any new people to introduce themselves
  • The meeting will often open with a short prayer (usually The Serenity Prayer)
  •  Often there will be a reading from relevant literature or a topic for discussion
  •  Members share on the topic, their experiences, or challenges related to recovery
  •  The meeting often closes with a prayer
  • Before and after the meeting there is usually time for informal chat, a cup of tea and opportunity to connect with other members

It’s important to note that sharing during these sessions is voluntary. And, of course, you should not discuss anything outside the group without permission from those involved.


Find out more about The Retreat NZ’s 30 day residential rehab programme for alcohol addiction and learn more about our unique approach.