12 Step Program for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery

One of the most well-known treatment tools for alcohol and drug addiction recovery is the 12-Step program. First created by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the 12 Steps are designed to create a successive roadmap to recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. Though the program is rooted in spirituality, the steps are a useful tool for people seeking help for their addiction even if they are not religious.

What is the 12-Step Program?

The 12-Step plan was designed to help people struggling with addiction using the power of peer support and faith in a higher power. The model depends on personal and peer accountability achieved through regular group meetings. In addition to social support, the 12-Step program emphasizes healing through faith, helping participants surrender to a higher power in order to achieve spiritual healing.

Though the perceived religious aspect of the program might turn off non-religious individuals, research has shown that 12-Step programs are effective in treating addiction. It is frequently recommended by addiction professionals and can be useful in treating substance addictions and other compulsive disorders like gambling.

What are the 12 Steps?

The original 12 Steps as outlined by AA are:

  1. Accepting that one is powerless over the addiction
  2. Believing that a higher power or goal can help
  3. Turning control over to the higher power
  4. Taking a personal moral inventory
  5. Admitting one’s wrongs to the higher power, oneself, and another person
  6. Being ready to have the higher power fix one’s shortcomings
  7. Asking the higher power to remove one’s shortcomings
  8. Making a list of persons hurt by one’s actions and being willing to make amends for those wrongs
  9. Making amends to those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person
  10. Continuing to take moral inventory and admitting when one is wrong
  11. Seeking connection with the higher power using prayer and meditation
  12. Helping others in need using the learned principles of the 12 Steps

Types of 12-Step Programs

There are many variations of the prototypical 12-Step program. These programs can be differentiated according to the type of substance they treat or according to specific religions or beliefs. Some well-known 12-Step groups are based on commonly abused substances such as: Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Marijuana Anonymous (MA), and Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA). Some versions of the program have been adapted to reduce the spiritual aspects to provide secular treatment based on the 12-Step principles.

The Purpose of the 12 Steps

The mechanism by which 12-Step programs treat addiction is known as cognitive restructuring. The program helps individuals change maladaptive patterns of thought, leading to healthier cognitive beliefs and eventually healthier behaviors. This element, which is also the root of many effective individual therapies, teaches people to think differently about the abused substance and their behaviors related to the substance.

The 12-Step program is also meant to help the family and friends of individuals struggling with addiction. In many cases, relationships with loved ones become strained and broken as a result of drug or alcohol abuse. By addressing the hurt caused to others, the program can help repair some of these relationships. Some groups like Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) exist to provide further support to these individuals.

What is a 12-Step meeting like?

Each 12-Step meeting is led by a member of the group who may be chosen beforehand or who may volunteer on the day of the meeting. The meeting is typically opened with a meditation or prayer and introductions. The introduction of new members is often highlighted when 12-Step meetings are depicted in movies and television.

Members may then present a reading or other element of the program before introducing a topic of discussion for the meeting. This typically generates discussion and members are encouraged to share their personal experiences and thoughts on the topic. Before the closing of the meeting, the meeting leader shares another prayer or meditation.

Of course, these sessions can be modified from this basic structure to accommodate the needs of the members. Educational sessions including those led by a guest speaker can provide different perspectives throughout the course of a 12-Step program.

Does the 12-Step Model Work?

The effectiveness of 12-Step programs depends on the individual’s motivation and willingness to change. Research shows that people are more likely to benefit from the 12 Steps when they’re motivated to maintain their sobriety. Evidence shows that the programs have several beneficial elements including exposure to a sober role model, goal direction and structure, and a forum to express oneself freely. Even people who are mandated to join a 12-Step program are more likely to have positive outcomes than those who are not.

Furthermore, studies showed that people who maintain regular participation and attendance are more likely to benefit. Engagement in the program is one of the key components to success. Researchers also found that non-religious individuals benefited just as much from the program as religious individuals.

12 Step Program FAQs

12 Step Program at Riverwalk Ranch
A Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area Addiction Treatment Center

As part of our comprehensive addiction treatment services, Riverwalk Ranch provides individuals the opportunity to participate in 12-Step meetings with others. Our medical professionals believe that positive peer influence is a great way to supplement individualized treatment for many kinds of addiction. If you’re looking for treatment in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you will find a supportive home here to help you overcome your substance abuse and addiction.

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol or substance abuse and addiction, contact our addiction treatment center today at (877) 863-3869. Whether you call Texas home or you’re looking for a dramatic change of scenery, Riverwalk Ranch can provide a therapeutic and supportive oasis for you. Everyone deserves a happy and healthy life, and we want to help you get there.

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