The 12-step program is one of the tools used by people to overcome addiction problems that they might have. Originally the 12-step program was created by Alcoholics Anonymous, but it became quite popular and effective among other associations as well, which is why it might be a good idea to see how this treatment can help you out with your own substance use disorder.

If interested, continue reading this article and find out how the 12-step programs work and whether or not you might want to take it up yourself!

12-Step Programs 101 

Overall, 12-step programs include 12 guidelines that Alcoholics Anonymous or any other fully self-supporting organization should use to help people overcome their addiction and provide recovery support to anyone who requires it.

Here is the 12-step addiction treatment program in its original form, created initially for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and available:

  1. Admit your previous (or current) powerlessness over alcohol;
  2. Believe that there is something greater than yourself, the Power that can save you from sins;
  3. Decide that you are ready to turn your will over to God to take care of it (as we understand Him);
  4. Make a personal inventory of yourself;
  5. Admit to God and other human beings the exact nature of all your previous sins;
  6. Be ready for God to remove all these defects that brought you to the place in which you are right now;
  7. Ask for God’s help in this process;
  8. Make a list of people that you have hurt before and be ready to apologize to them;
  9. Make direct amends to their people whenever you can, but do not approach those that would be injured because of that;
  10. Do not stop the spiritual progress, and be willing to apologize whenever you understand that you were wrong. Fearless moral inventory is the basis of your recovery;
  11. Improve your conscious contact with God in whatever form we imagine Him through prayers and meditation;
  12. Once ready, be ready to transfer your knowledge and experience to other alcoholics, as well as continue to practice these principles throughout your entire life.

12-Step Program Rehab

There are also 12 traditions included in 12-step programs, and in comparison with the 12 principles described above, 12 traditions are for the Alcoholics Anonymous group in general, not for every individual separately.

Here are these 12 traditions :

  1. To become an AA member, the only requirement for you would be a wish to stop drinking;
  2. Each AA group has only one purpose: to carry the 12-step message to individuals suffering from their addiction;
  3. The common welfare of Alcoholics Anonymous as a group is more important than an individual one, as the whole recovery process depends on the unity of the Alcoholics Anonymous community;
  4. God, in whatever form we imagine Him, is the one ultimate authority for all of us. The leaders of our AA community are the servants of His will;
  5. Each AA group should be independent of all others;
  6. AA groups should always remain non-financial and do not lend their name to any other organizations, as otherwise, it would distract us from the main purpose of helping those having troubles with substance abuse;
  7. AA groups are self-support groups that do not take any type of help from other organizations;
  8. AA groups were created as nonprofessional organizations and they should remain this way. The only exception is the right to employ special workers from substance abuse treatment services;
  9. AA should not be organized in any other way, but they could create service boards in order to help those they serve;
  10. Anonymous Alcoholics do not have any opinion on outside matters, which is why its name should not be drawn up during public confrontations. Its participants have a right to maintain personal anonymity;
  11. Any possible public relations should remain for the purposes of attracting those in need, not promoting the service centers and the functions they hold;
  12. Personal recovery depends not only on the help of another party but on its anonymity as well, which is why anonymity is the sacred rule of AA groups that reminds us that collectively-accepted principles are more important than personal desires.

12 Step Program Peculiarities

In general, the 12-step substance abuse treatment programs

are based on spiritual awakening principles, which is why some of you might find them uncomfortable at first.

However, it all depends on your own interpretation and the people with whom you will go through the entire process of the addiction treatment. The spiritual foundation is not the main thing, but the acceptance that there is some higher Power, be it God or your AA group, that can help us with all our affairs and troubles is.

You could eliminate any references to the higher Power while working with 12-step programs for maintaining abstinence in groups with alternative interpretations of steps that are based on the original ones, or stick to the traditional form if comfortable with its spiritual principles.

12 Step Program Treatment Benefits

Although it is hard to grasp any accurate data on the 12-step program effectiveness because of its anonymity principle, it is known that 74% of USA treatment centers use this type of addiction treatment for their visitors.

What is more, some insurance policies cover the costs of 12-step programs, which is why you might not even need to pay additional money to receive this kind of help from various treatment centers.

Based on the worldwide acceptance and popularity, you can say for sure that 12-step programs are effective. It is like with therapy types: you need to find your own way of dealing with your problem, be it substance addiction or anything else, and combining the 12 steps with the desire to attend meetings is one of the ways that can help you in your personal recovery!

Non 12 Step Program Treatment

Not everybody likes 12 steps or has any impact from this method, which is why it might be important to discuss some alternatives that you can find these days.

Here is the list of some such alternatives:

  • Residential programs of rehabilitation that take place in professional rehab centers are the most efficient ways of coping with your addictions, which is why you might consider them first. You simply will create a substance-free environment where professionals will take care of you and make sure that you maintain abstinence after that. However, it might cost you quite a penny.
  • Outpatient rehabilitation programs are similar to residential ones; only they help during the morning and night so that you would still have an opportunity to go to work and bear the responsibilities that you have. But because of such a format, these programs might last for a few months.
  • There are also faith-based residential rehabilitation programs that you might find helpful. What is more, the majority of them are free of charge and do not even require you to belong to a particular faith. One such organization providing these programs is Salvation Army.
  • Government-based rehab programs are another possibility for those of you who cannot afford to pay for them with your own money. Medicare and Medicaid include such a possibility in their insurance plans. However, you need to check whether they are available for your plan and region, as well as whether or not your rehabilitation center accepts such payments.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ

What is the basic concept of a 12-Step program?

The main principle of the 12 step program is that we can help each other out to overcome our drug abuse or any other addictions, but not without surrendering to the Power greater than us alone, be it God in your own interpretation or the NA or AA group themselves.

Are 12 steps the same as AA?

The 12 steps were created by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), but its principles became quite popular among many other people with various substance use problems. Thus, 12 steps can be a part of your AA group methods, but you can use them to overcome any other addiction or compulsion.

How long does it take to do all 12 steps?

It all depends on your own problems and capabilities to overcome drug addiction or any other issue. Many sponsors like to work with their clients by making them come to 90 meetings in 90 days, which is something you could consider to be the bare minimum of the amount of time that 12 steps will take from you.

What are the names of all the 12-step programs?

There is no complete list of all groups using 12-step programs in their practice, but some of them include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous (including Cocaine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, and Heroin Anonymous), Adult Children of Alcoholics, Dual Diagnosis Anonymous, and so on.