For those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, 12-step addiction recovery programs have been an invaluable resource in helping them achieve lasting sobriety and health. These programs emphasize the need for personal responsibility and accountability, while offering tools and routines geared towards greater self-awareness, insight, and lasting wellness.
What is the 12-Step Program?
The 12-Step Program consists of 12 distinct steps designed to help individuals struggling with substance abuse begin to face and work on essential personal issues. Increasingly, these steps are being used for non-substance related disorders (such as compulsive gambling) with guidance from qualified professionals or certified addiction counselors.
The 12 Steps are as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
How Does the Program Work?
Within a group setting, participants have the chance to share their stories and support each other in meeting the goals set forth by the 12-Step Program. Throughout the process, members are encouraged to focus on and work through any unresolved issues or underlying factors that might have been contributing to the addiction and associated behaviors.
12-step recovery is also strongly focused on developing a consistent support system. In addition to regular attendance of 12-step meetings, members are also encouraged to find someone to act as an accountability partner. This can be a mentor, an outside sponsor, or any trusted individual who will be available to provide support and guidance outside of group meetings.
The Benefits of the Program
- Improved Physical Health – An addiction can have serious physical repercussions and long-term implications on overall health, even after sobriety is achieved. 12-step programs help individuals develop healthier habits while they are working on maintaining their sobriety.
- Increased Self-Awareness – A defining feature of all forms of addiction is the distorted perception of self and situations. 12-step recovery focuses on helping individuals considerably improve their level of self-awareness.
- Strengthened Support Network – Heal and break free from the power of addiction with the help of a strong support system. By joining a 12-step recovery program, individuals can connect with people from similar backgrounds.
12-step recovery programs are widely considered to be one of the most effective forms of support for individuals struggling with substance abuse and related behaviors. By attending meetings, talking with trusted sponsors, and developing healthy habits and routines, those in recovery are more likely to achieve lasting sobriety and health.