Traditional treatments can be highly beneficial for a person living with an addiction, but it is difficult to maintain long-term sobriety without the help of ongoing support. This is where 12-step programs come in. The step-by-step approach, the camaraderie of the community involved, and the fact that these programs boast a medication-free solution to addiction speaks to their popularity and effectiveness.
What is a 12-Step Program?
Even those who have no history of addiction are likely familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous. This well-known group was founded in the 1920s by Bill Wilson, and members of the group still follow his teachings today.
Wilson was inspired by a friend who used Christian principles to rapidly recover from alcoholism. He began the group to help others utilize the 12 steps and regain control over their lives. These steps are used in many treatment and recovery programs today, including Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and more.
What Are the 12 Steps?
Here are the original 12 steps (PDF) from Alcoholics Anonymous:
Anyone with a belief in a higher power can benefit from the 12-step approach. As you read through the steps, consider how they may be useful for most people. They contain instructions to take a “personal inventory,” ask for forgiveness, and above all, maintain a high level of self-awareness and responsibility for your actions.
12-Step Facilitation Therapy
Although we typically associate 12-step programs with self-help, these steps are often a component of formal treatment programs. 12-step facilitation therapy is a specific treatment approach that encourages clients to get involved with 12-step groups in their community and then discuss insights from the group meetings with their therapist.
Some treatment centers even utilize the 12 steps within their own programs. The steps may be discussed in group therapy or used to facilitate interactions between patients and clinicians.
How 12-Step Facilitation Therapy Works
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides an instruction manual (PDF) for the facilitation of 12-step programs. Because of the clarity and universal appeal of the 12 steps for addictions of any kind, they can be used in almost any treatment program.
Clinicians, therapists, and counselors are able to break down the 12 steps into modules around which their treatment program can revolve. Patients can investigate the cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social ways that alcoholism or drug addiction has affected their lives. Additionally, within this framework, clinicians are able to communicate in a common language with their patients as well as other clinicians.
The 12 Steps’ Core Concepts
Clinicians are able to use the core concepts (PDF) of the 12-step methodology to create a program for their patients. They may use a treatment plan that follows the following four steps:
Could a 12-Step Approach Help You?
Incorporating the 12-step approach into treatment can be beneficial for many people. If you’ve tried other recovery programs but haven’t been able to maintain sobriety, consider getting involved with a local recovery group. You may also benefit from a treatment program that incorporates the 12 steps.
High Focus Centers offers substance abuse treatment that uses proven methods, including 12-step facilitation. Contact our admissions specialists for more information on our treatment programs in your state.