What Is A 12-Step Program?

The 12-Step program was created by Alcoholics Anonymous. While the program was initially created to be used exclusively by people who were addicted to alcohol, three-quarters of treatment centers in the United States today utilize adaptations of the original 12-Step program in their drug and alcohol rehabilitation curriculum. The 12-Step program was initially created as a guide for people who could not attend Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, meetings, but it quickly became a representation and model for the program itself.

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The 12-Step program philosophy is essentially a peer-to-peer support group where members can anonymously share their trials, tribulations, successes and thoughts in a judgment-free way. Many drug addiction rehab centers incorporate various facets of the 12-Step program into their curriculum because peer support is essential for sobriety. There are many additional offshoots of the original program, and there have been a vast number of self-help programs that have been born from the original 12-Step program.

What Are 12 Step Programs For Addiction Treatment?

If you are addicted to heroin, opioids or any other dangerous narcotics, the 12-Step program can also work to help you overcome your addictions and maintain your sobriety. If you are struggling with personal or professional issues, have ongoing family drama or have encountered a relapse, you can seek the love and support of your 12-Step group members to help you through trying times; they can help you regain focus, composure and control so that you can move forward in your life and work through your problems without abusing drugs and alcohol.

On the flip side of the coin, if you want to share your positive experiences, revelations, encouragement, details of a sobriety anniversary or a particular celebratory event, 12-Step programs are the perfect platform for touting your achievements, spreading love and support and gaining the confidence you need to continue on in your journey to sobriety. Nearly half of all active members of various 12-Step programs never touch drugs or alcohol again once they have become clean and sober. Flourishing involves having positive mental health, and most who are flourishing and thriving have a greater chance of experiencing long-term sobriety.

The 12-Step program gives members a safe platform where they can surrender their addictions and triggers, process their past and vow to move forward to create new goals and enjoy positive life experiences. It helps some people realize they have a problem with addiction, encourages them to seek help from outside sources, holds them accountable for the actions that led to their addictions, gives them an opportunity to practice restraint while building confidence and self-esteem, guides them to want to change their behaviors, teaches compassion for themselves and anyone they have hurt in the past and provides helpful tools that can be used throughout life for coping and thriving.

The 12-Steps Outlined: Broken Down In Easy Terms

1.) Admit that you are powerless to your addictions.
2.) Believe in any higher power or positive influence that can help you overcome your addictions.
3.) Turn all control over to a higher power.
4.) Take a personal inventory of your past actions.
5.) Profess your wrongdoings to the higher power, yourself and anyone you have hurt in the past.
6.) Await the blessings that a higher power will provide.
7.) Ask a higher power to help you overcome your shortcomings.
8.) Make a list of things you have done wrong and people you have wronged. Vow to make amends for those wrongdoings.
9.) Contact anyone you have hurt, unless contact will cause additional pain.
10.) Continue to hold yourself accountable, and admit when you are wrong.
11.) Seek connection to enlightenment through prayer and meditation regularly.
12.) Carry the message of the 12-Step program to any others who may be in need.

Some people are critics of the 12-Step curriculum because they do not like the idea of basing recovery on the idea that there is an inability to control the addiction without the program. These people prefer to rely on internal control and the inner work they have done through a regimented treatment center to avoid the triggers that lead to abusing drugs and alcohol. However, the vast majority of treatment centers utilize components of the 12-Step program because it works. The program encourages unity, support, love, self-acceptance, accountability, ownership and forgiveness. It is a comprehensive program for anyone with addictions, anyone in recovery and those who have been directly or indirectly impacted by a person with a drug or alcohol problem.

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