12 Step Programs for Treatment Centers
12 Step programs date back to the 1930s when a group of men in Akron, Ohio, created a group to help themselves get and stay sober. The leaders of the group, Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, then published a book about the method in 1939: Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism.Word spread, and Alcoholics Anonymous groups sprung up across the country. Because AA focuses specifically on alcoholism, a variety of different 12Step groups have been developed to fight various addictions.
Types of 12 Step Programs
There is a 12 Step group for almost any addiction you can think of, ranging from Debtors Anonymous to Overeaters Anonymous to Workaholics Anonymous. All of these groups follow the basic 12 Step framework of AA, focusing on building a community of support to overcome an addiction. Narcotics Anonymous welcomes anyone suffering from drug addiction, and there are also more specific groups such as Crystal Meth Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous, and more.
The Basics of 12 Steps
Joining a 12 Step group is easy - simply show up. On your first visit, let them know you are new. Generally, you will have the option to decide whether you would like to participate or simply be an observer. Once you have joined, you will begin working your way through the twelve steps. These include:
- Admitting to addiction
- Belief in a higher power
- Making a list of everyone you have harmed
- Spreading the message to others
Everyone in a 12 Step group will choose a sponsor, which is someone who has gone through the steps themselves, maintained sobriety, and will attend your meetings with you. A sponsor is someone that you can reach out to when you feel the desire to use. They serve as a support mechanism for maintaining sobriety.
12 Steps vs. Rehab
Attending a 12 Step program is not a replacement for rehab. Many people will attend a 12 Step program when they first begin to acknowledge that they have an addiction. It can be an excellent way to recognize the role that addiction plays in your life andstartthinking about getting sober. However, these meetings are generally not enough to help a person overcome addiction. It is extremely rare that someone overcomes their addiction and stays sober using 12 Step meetings alone.
If you have tried and failed to get sober through 12 Step meetings, your addiction is not a lost cause. Attending a more intensive rehab program, whether it is based on the 12 Steps or a different approach, can give you the support that you need to get sober.
If 12 Steps seem like a good fit for you, there are many rehab programs based on the approach. Their programs are built around these guidelines and will walk the patient through each of them during their time in treatment. These programs will typically encourage a patient to attend 12 Step meetings after they are discharged from treatment, as part of an aftercare plan.
The Effectiveness of 12 Steps
While many people swear by the 12 Step program, proof of its effectiveness is mixed. Some research shows a success rate as high as 50 percent, and some as low as 5 percent.
One major reason that the programs do not work for many people is the religious aspect. 12Step programs put a great deal of focus on surrendering to a higher power. While this can be any higher power, and not just the Christian God, for people who do not consider themselves spiritual, this can be a difficult part of the program to get on board with.
However, research has shown that being part of an accountability group can help maintain sobriety. Thankfully, there are several alternatives to 12 Step programs. These include SMART Recovery, which uses techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy, LifeRing Secular Recovery, which focuses on the individual’s control over their addiction, and Moderation Management, which helps people ensure that they only use alcohol in healthy amounts.
If you have tried a traditional 12 Step program and it did not work for you, it may be worthwhile to seek out alternative groups to build relationships around sobriety.
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