On Friday, August 28th, I had the privilege of talking with Dr. Jamie Marich about her recently revised and republished book Trauma and the 12 Steps: An Inclusive Guide to Enhancing Recovery.
An international audience joined us for the discussion, including Judith who explained to us where "The Midlands" in England are (it's the middle of England, just like you'd think).
Many attendees shared their concerns with 12 Step programs such as their being not feminist or too focused on prayer and the Bible. One member shared that her participation in 12 Step meetings "saved my life and keeps me sane one day at a time."
Carey Sipp, community facilitator at ACEs Connection and a long-time recovery advocate, including in her book The TurnAround Mom, said: "There are parts of 12-step that are so regulating. And parts of 12-step that can be so dysregulating. It’s like everything else — take what you like and leave the rest. I think everyone is unique and different things work for different people. Meetings can be very different and if you can find a meeting that works for you, great! I really believe it is important to have 12 step meetings to be trauma informed."
Dr. Jamie Marich just barely scratched the surface at discussing all the nuance her book addresses. I devoured her book and covered it in notes, underlines, and exclamation points. She very thoroughly dissects the 12 Steps, meetings, sponsors...every aspect of 12 Step programs and addresses each and every critique with a healing, trauma-informed lens.
I found that the main theme of the book was about validation. "Validation first" is a constant thread. Jamie was happy I drew that conclusion. She confirmed that that was her intention throughout the book.
We hope you'll check out this episode if you or a loved one have struggled with addiction or dysfunctional families. With Jamie's wisdom and vision, we are seeing a way for 12 Steps to move forward as trauma-informed.
Connect with Dr. Jamie Marich here: