The 12-step addiction recovery program is perhaps one of the most well-known recovery program structures available. Promoted and used by Alcoholics Anonymous and 12 step rehab centers, this program includes 12 separate tasks addicts must complete in order. However, this program isn’t right for every struggling addict.
About the 12 Step Program
The steps in the 12 step program are as follows:
1. The individual admits that he or she is powerless over the addiction and that it has caused life to be unmanageable.
The first step in programs at 12 step rehab centers focuses on being honest with oneself and others about the gravity of an addiction. Many people who are struggling with addiction are unwilling to admit that they have a problem. As a result, they are unable to seek the treatment they need. However, once the individual has admitted that the addiction exists, facing it head on becomes easier. Admitting the existence of the addiction to others also gives the individual access to a support system he or she will rely on throughout recovery.
2. The individual believes that a supernatural power can restore his or her sanity.
The second step in the program involves a belief that a supernatural power can restore the individual’s health and help him or her overcome the addiction. For many people, this translates to a belief in the power of God. The purpose of this step is to give the individual hope for the future.
3. The individual turns over his or her life to the supernatural power.
During this step, addicts must turn over control of their life to the supernatural power who has the ability to restore them. The exact way in which the person completes this step will depend on his or her faith and understanding of God and religion. However, the goal of this step is for the individual to trust in something greater and more powerful than he or she is.
4. The individual takes an honest moral inventory.
The fourth step in the 12 step rehab program involves taking a fearless and thorough look at one’s life. During this phase of the program, the goal is for the individual to take responsibility for his or her past and current actions, even if doing so is difficult. In most cases, program participants are encouraged to create a formal, written inventory. They can complete this process on their own, or they can consult friends and family for input.
5. Addicts admits to themselves, their God and another human being the exact nature of their wrongs.
The addict’s moral inventory will reveal many past events and behaviors he or she wishes could be changed. This step involves admitting these wrongs to oneself, to a supernatural power and to another person. Without this step, the individual would be left alone with the pain and shame of his or her past. However, this step allows the individual to confess these things, which helps with healing.
6. The individual becomes ready for God to remove his or her character weaknesses.
The sixth step recommended by 12 step treatment centers involves a change of heart in which the addict recognizes that his or her character weaknesses can only be removed by a supernatural power. During this step, addicts must remind themselves that they are unable to change on their own, but that they can become a better person with help.
7. The individual asks God to remove their shortcomings.
After addicts have admitted to themselves that they are unable to resolve their character weaknesses on their own, they must formally ask God to remove them. This step focuses on humility and the idea of total surrender to the supernatural power.
8. The individual makes a list of people he or she has harmed.
During this step, addicts must list all of the people they have harmed because of their addiction. They must also be willing to ask for forgiveness.
9. The individual asks for forgiveness.
After the individual has made a list of people he or she has harmed, the individual approaches each of these people and expresses desire to make amends.
10. Addicts continue to take moral inventory and admit their wrongs.
On a daily basis, addicts should continue to evaluate their thoughts and behaviors. If they do something wrong, they must admit it immediately.
11. The individual seeks to know God’s will.
Through prayer and a personal relationship with God, the individual should seek God’s guidance.
12. The addict experiences a spiritual awakening.
As a result of the program, addicts should experience a spiritual awakening. Addicts should spread the message to other addicts, and they should continue to practice the principles they learned in all areas of their life.
The 12 step recovery program has some drawbacks. For example, it may not be appropriate or desirable for people who don’t believe in a supernatural being. It also includes rigid steps that may not work for everyone. Furthermore, the 12 step rehab program does not address all of the areas of an addict’s life that may be impacted by his or her addiction. Fortunately, other programs are available. Addicts should contact Elevate Addiction Services to learn more.