12 Step Approach

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There are a number of different approaches when it comes to treating drug and alcohol addiction. One of the most popular and well-known is known as the twelve-step program. Over the years, this model of addiction recovery has helped thousands of people to make a long-lasting recovery.

It first originated in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) but Narcotics Anonymous also helps people with other drug problems and various other fellowships and organisations have adapted the model. Versions of a 12-step programme are frequently offered in UK rehabilitation centres, although other approaches are available.


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What Is The 12-Step Approach?

What Is The 12-Step Approach?According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the key to the programme’s success is largely down to the fact that one alcoholic who has given up drinking can have a great ability to reach another whose drinking is still out of control.

Essentially, the recovered or recovering alcoholic passes his or her story on to the newcomer, inviting them to join the fellowship and become part of a ‘virtuous circle’. Everyone’s recovery story is different, of course, and not all outpatient or residential addiction treatment is the same. The Twelve Steps, however, described and encapsulated the personal recovery journeys of the earliest members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The original steps described are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


How Do The 12 Steps Work?

The Twelve Steps were initially devised by Alcoholics Anonymous and the basic texts and concepts for their programme are contained in the organisation’s Big Book. Other support groups and organisations may have their own versions, but most 12-step programmes follow the same basic format.

People who are participating in one of these programmes attend meetings of mutual support groups, where people can share their own experiences for the benefit of themselves and others. The twelve steps themselves serve as a guide for each person’s recovery journey.

Some aspects of the 12-step programme can be incorporated into a drug detox and rehab programme that also has other elements. When following a dedicated 12-step programme though, each step should be followed in succession.


Evolution Of The 12 Steps

Evolution Of The 12 StepsAlcoholics Anonymous traces its beginnings to 1935, when alcoholics known as Bill W, a New York stockbroker, and Dr Bob S, a surgeon from Akron, held a supportive meeting. They began the fellowship that would go on to become AA and in 1939 they published the Twelve Steps for the first time.

While it started to support people with an addiction to alcohol, it has since been adopted or adapted to help people with drug addiction and also behavioural addictions such as gambling addictions. An important change in many modern versions is that the references to God are changed to ‘a higher power’. This can make the 12 steps relevant for atheists, agnostics and people of various faiths.


The Purpose Of The 12 Steps

The ultimate purpose of twelve-step programmes, like rehab programmes that offer supervised detoxification and therapy-led addiction treatments, is to help people to overcome their addictions, whatever they might be. People who benefit from the programme can choose to pay that forward, however, sharing their stories and supporting others that come after them.


Do The 12 Steps Work?

Do The 12 Steps Work?It is actually quite difficult to get accurate statistics on the success rates of various 12-step programmes. This is because of the anonymity involved in most organisations and fellowships, as well as a lack of formal research in the area. These programmes have become very prevalent though, and anecdotal success stories from participants suggest that they can be very effective. There are other evidence-backed approaches though and our admissions process can guide you through your options.


Find Out More Now

If you are interested in experiencing the 12 step approach or to find out more about the treatment services at Rehab Clinics Group, you can reach a member of our team at 03301 596 494 or go to the website and fill out the contact form. If you are ready to start your journey to long term recovery, our admissions process is swift and we can get you into a rehab facility in just a few days.

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  • Are there alternatives to the 12-step program?

    There are many alternatives to the 12-step system and a lot of addiction treatment programmes follow a different model. 12-step programs are very helpful to many people but our therapies and other addiction treatments can be used in other contexts to aid your recovery.
  • Do the 12 steps have to include religion?

    Although the original Twelve Steps wordings mention God, they do not require you to follow a particular religion. Some say the program is more spiritual than strictly religious and some versions replace the word ‘God’ with a concept of a ‘higher power’.
  • Are mental health issues and addiction linked?

    Mental health, addiction and substance misuse often share a complex relationship, with each one affecting the others to different degrees. Treating a mental health condition or addiction without addressing the other part of the equation may be storing up trouble, as an untreated mental health issue could lead to relapse further down the road. On the other hand, an untreated addiction could trigger or exacerbate further mental health problems. Contact us if you are concerned about addiction or mental health.