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Using Imagery and Storytelling to Educate Outpatients about 12-Step Programs and Improve Their Participation in Community-based Programs

The longer a patient remains engaged in recovery activities the greater the success of long-term abstinence.

Self-help community programs that use the 12-steps such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are known in the addictions field to contribute to sustained abstinence. Connecting patients to 12-step programs in early stages of recovery increases the chance of prolonged involvement.

A nurse working in an outpatient substance abuse clinic developed a unique method to inform and educate patients about the 12-step process.

A story and image metaphorically describe this journey. The cleaning of a vessel and subsequent discovery of tools along the way provide an uncomplicated look at the 12-steps.

Nurses can use the image and story to develop the necessary tools of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness for patients to embrace the 12-step journey.

Dennis E. Hagarty, and Deborah J. Clark. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 2009, Vol. 20, No. 2, Pages 86-92. Using Imagery and Storytelling to Educate Outpatients about 12-Step Programs and Improve Their Participation in Community-based Programs