12 Step Addiction Treatment
Many people have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s the most famous 12-step program for alcohol addiction. However, some people don’t know that there are other 12 step addiction treatment programs out there. These programs help people who are struggling with a variety of different addictions. After going through an addiction rehab program, recovering individuals often join one of these groups.
It is important to understand what these groups do in order to see how they can improve your recovery. Let’s take a look at the basics of a 12 step support program and how they help people.
What Is a 12 Step Addiction Treatment Program?
In 1935, two men in Ohio formed the first Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship. They introduced the members to their 12 steps of sobriety. Over the years, AA spread across the world, but the 12 steps remain the same. Because of AA’s success, other support groups adapted the 12 steps. Most of these steps are identical or very similar to the ones used in AA. The 12 steps are used in around three-fourths of all addiction treatment centers and support groups.
The idea of the 12 step program is that anyone is capable of living a sober life. However, they need support, and they need help. They need to attend support meetings and reach out whenever they feel like they’re close to a relapse. The 12 steps also serve as an outline for maintaining sobriety. They give recovering patients a map of what they need to do to live the life they want to live.
What Are the 12 Steps?
Here are the 12 steps of an addiction support group. These are the general 12 steps used by AA and many other groups. Some recovery groups may rephrase specific steps or use different terms, but they all have the same basic idea behind them.
- We admit we are powerless over addiction and that it has made our lives unmanageable.
- There is a Power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity.
- We have decided to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understand God.
- We have made an honest, moral inventory of ourselves.
- After making this inventory, we admitted to God, to ourselves, and to others the nature of our wrongs.
- We are ready to have God remove our character defects.
- Once ready, we humbly asked God to remove these shortcomings.
- We made a list of everyone we harmed and are willing to make amends to them.
- We made amends to everyone we harmed wherever possible, except when reaching out to them would cause pain.
- After making amends, we have continued to take personal inventory and admit when we’re wrong.
- We have sought to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out.
- Having reached a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will carry this message to others struggling with addiction and practice these principles throughout our lives.
It’s important to note that while the original 12 steps involve spirituality, there are versions that are non-religious. A recovering individual who is not religious can still make use of a modified version of the 12 steps.
How Are the 12 Steps Used in Rehab?
As mentioned above, nearly three-fourths of addiction centers have incorporated the 12 steps into their treatment. How they use the 12 step method does differ from rehab to rehab, but most use it in the same way support groups do. It begins with the patient recognizing they have a problem and admitting they have no control over their life. During therapy, they are encouraged to work through steps 4 and 5 by identifying their problems and taking responsibility for them.
Some treatment centers use some or all of the 12 steps but don’t label them as such. Others may set aside time for patients to work through the 12 steps. For example, they may have group therapy sessions dedicated to the 12 steps. These sessions help patients transition into support groups after they leave rehab.
Rehabs that use 12 steps in their recovery programs, along with other therapies and treatment methods can be incredibly helpful and effective. If you would like to learn more about what rehab can do, contact us here at (NAME) today. We’re more than happy to discuss how we can help you or a loved one defeat addiction.
What 12 Step Addiction Treatment Programs Exist?
There are many different 12 step programs out there. In fact, there’s one for almost anything that can be considered an addiction. One of the challenges patients may have, though, is finding a group in their area for certain addictions. While AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are very widespread, some groups such as Debtors Anonymous or Pills Anonymous may be more challenging to find.
Here are some of the 12 step groups that focus on drug addiction:
- Cocaine Anonymous
- Crystal Meth Anonymous
- Heroin Anonymous
- Marijuana Anonymous
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Pills Anonymous (for prescription medication addiction)
There are also groups for friends and family of individuals struggling with addiction. These groups help attendees learn how to love and support recovering individuals without enabling them. Such groups include Co-Anon for friends of those struggling with cocaine and Nar-Anon.
Both Narcotics Anonymous and Nar-Anon are aimed at general drug addiction. They often have members who are dealing with a range of addictions, and anyone can join. Even if a patient can’t find a group that focuses on their specific addiction, they can likely find an NA group nearby.
A number of support groups have also moved online or began as online support. Some recovering individuals may find these support groups just as helpful as in-person meetings. However, they may not be for everyone. Some people may find that being physically in the same space is important to them.
Can a 12 Step Program Replace Rehab?
No, a 12 step program is not rehab. While these programs do teach members to recognize their faults, accept them, and work on them, they aren’t run by licensed therapists or addiction specialists. They also provide very little one-on-one time or work with members to discover the cause of their addiction. For those who have already been through rehab, these groups offer support and encouragement for remaining sober. Patients who are still fighting addiction, however, won’t get the tools they need from a 12 step support group.
A 12 step program should be seen as complementary to rehab. It helps further the lessons learned and strengthen the tools provided by rehab therapists, but it’s not an excellent form of treatment by itself. When used in a treatment facility, however, the 12 step program is supplemented with various types of therapy. In that case, it is useful in helping patients become sober and work towards living a fully sober life.
What Are the Benefits of a 12 Step Addiction Treatment Program?
There are many different benefits from a 12 step program. Here are a few:
- The program provides an outline of what it takes to live a sober life.
- It encourages members to be accountable to each other, helping them avoid relapse.
- Most 12 step programs use the sponsor model where a member with years of sobriety serves as a mentor to a new member. These sponsors provide one-on-one support.
- All members remain anonymous and use first names only. This helps to create a safe space where everyone can share without worrying about how it will affect the other parts of their lives.
- Studies have shown that 12 step programs are effective in helping prevent relapse.
- Recovering patients who don’t have close friends or family members can find new friends by attending meetings.
- These programs help remove the stigma around drug addiction. Members see that while they made mistakes, they can change. They can rebuild their lives.
- All legitimate 12 step programs are free to attend. Some may ask for small donations to help fund programs, but these donations are voluntary.
There are a few downsides to these groups. People who aren’t very social may find it difficult to get up in front of others and talk about themselves. Some do focus on the religious and spiritual aspects of the 12 steps, which can make some members uncomfortable.
Should All Recovering Patients Join a 12 Step Program?
Despite the downsides, 12 step programs are incredibly helpful. Every person needs support and acceptance. Sometimes, this does come from family and friends, but it doesn’t always. Even when a recovering individual has this support, family and friends don’t fully understand what it means to have an addiction if they haven’t experienced one themselves. Support groups are full of people who understand addiction.
While there’s nothing that requires recovering people to join a 12 step program, it’s certainly recommended. Individuals who have attended most rehabs are familiar with the tenets of 12 step programs. As part of one of these groups, individuals get to continue working on their sobriety while also helping others who are battling addiction. Reach out to get help finding the right rehab for your specific needs.