Learn the Basics of a 12-Step Program
Authored by Audra Franchini
How Drug Treatment Programs Can Help
A 12-step program is a set of principles that assists people suffering from alcohol abuse and addiction by providing individual action steps.
In 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous published its original 12-step method of recovery from alcoholism in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism. Many programs have started as offshoots of the original Alcoholics Anonymous program. Likewise, these problems include drug addiction, compulsion, and depression.
In 12-step drug treatment programs, recovery is discussing the effects of addiction—physical, mental, and emotional—and responding with specific actions. Two unique features of the 12-step program are:
- A group setting: The 12 steps of recovery are discussed and applied in a recovery group. Above all, members of these groups emphasize self-admission of the problem they are recovering from.
- Sponsorship: A sponsor is a more experienced recovering addict who guides new members of the group, much like a mentor. According to the related 12-step program of Narcotics Anonymous, “A sponsor is simply another addict in recovery who is willing to share his or her journey through the Twelve Steps.”
Some critics of 12-step drug treatment programs are leery of its emphasis on God. In the many decades since the beginning, Alcoholics Anonymous has adopted a spiritual focus. As a result, members of AA can define the higher power in their own way.
The 12 Steps According to Alcoholics Anonymous
- Admit powerlessness: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Find hope: Believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Surrender: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him to be.
- Take inventory: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Share inventory: Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Become ready: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Ask God: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- List amends: Make a list of all those we have harmed and make amends to them all.
- Make amends: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continue inventory: Take a personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Pray and meditate: Through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious and connect with God. We do this to understand Him, praying only for His knowledge will give us the power to carry that out.
- Help others: Having a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles.
Could a 12-step program be right for you? Recovery Center of America hosts 12-step drug treatment programs for members of the local community in well-appointed, safe, and comfortable meeting rooms. RCA’s services work to fight the issues of addiction treatment by offering a complete range of detoxification, residential, and outpatient care.
If you would like more information about RCA or a 12-step program, contact our patient care advocates today by calling 1-800-RECOVERY.