The 12 step model of addiction treatment is one of the most well-known and commonly used types of recovery support and most people have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous, the organization that originated the idea in the 1930s. 12 step recovery programs are still extremely popular for people seeking support, with services being offered in almost 75% of treatment centers in the US according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).
The History of the 12 Step Program
The concept of the 12 step rehab centers emerged in 1938 during an AA meeting in which founder Bill Wilson listed the positive effects he had witnessed people experiencing when they were able to share their alcoholism stories with each other. These initial notes went on to become known as the Big Book which outlines the 12 steps recovery model and has since been used as a guide for people struggling with alcoholism who are unable to attend meetings.
The 12 step program encourages participants to seek help from a greater power as well as those who are traveling the same recovery route. 12 step rehab centers offer programs that are based on peer support and self-help counseling that’s designed to motivate behavioral change in an individual. Indeed, it has been proven to be extremely effective in promoting sustainable sobriety, particularly for people struggling with substance abuse disorder who are looking for faith-based support.
These days, 12 step rehab centers use the model for a wide range of support services available to people with addiction issues. A number of offshoots of the original AA group have been spawned in the years since the 12 steps were developed including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Heroin Anonymous (HA) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA). Although the original concept of 12 steps was and is based on Christian principals, participants from all faiths are welcomed to join this highly effective addiction support group, which has a less denominational focus today.
What Practices Are Used In 12 Step Rehab Centers?
12 step treatment centers offer programs that are based on the premise that people respond well when others are around to listen to them and offer support without being judgmental. This is generally achieved through group meetings which participants can organize to suit their daily schedules. A therapist will be present to guide discussions to allow people with substance abuse disorder the opportunity to explore their own addiction issues further through sharing their experiences with others. Ultimately, 12 step treatment centers offer an abstinence-based practice that supports and motivates people to maintain sobriety for longer-term recovery.
12 step treatment centers provide people with drug or alcohol addiction illness with a framework that allows them to process the experience. Free and open communication between individuals in recovery has been proven to provide the vital insights they need to make radical changes in their lives and overcome their addiction.
12 step recovery programs work by building transformative practices that act as catalysts to sometimes dramatic and very positive personal change in the following ways:
- The ability to recognize and accept that the individual has an addiction problem
- Encourages them to regain self-control by submitting themselves to the help of an external guide or higher power
- Increases self-awareness of the negative thought processes and behavior patterns behind someone’s addiction and seeks to alter them
- Builds self-esteem through the achievement of goals and objectives
- Develops a sense of compassion amongst participants and an understanding of how their behaviors impact on those close to them
- An ability to recognize achievements and feel motivated by successes
What Are the 12 Steps?
The modern-day version of the 12 step recovery program tends not to include references to God in the same way as the Big Book. This is because 12 step rehab centers have become just as accessible and relevant to people of all faiths and belief systems.
They are as follows:
- Acceptance that an individual is powerless over their addiction
- Belief in a higher power in whatever form that may take
- A firm decision to submit control to that higher power
- Undergoing self-assessment to make a personal inventory
- Identifying the individual’s past wrongdoing and admitting it to the higher power, themselves and others who have been affected
- Being prepared to have their character flaws corrected to achieve recovery
- Asking for those flaws to be removed by the higher power
- Listing the poor behaviors and how they have impacted those close to them and then making amends
- Contacting the loved ones who have been hurt by the person’s addiction to apologize, unless doing so would be detrimental to them
- Maintaining a personal inventory and developing the ability to admit when they are wrong
- Incorporating prayer and meditation into the daily routine to seek enlightenment and an improved connection with the higher power
- Reaching out to others in need of the support of 12 step rehab centers