According to a 2014 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), 12-step programs are used by approximately 74 percent of treatment centers. This means that the twelve-step program is one of the most-used treatments for addictions. Nevertheless, because of certain religious elements, some people struggle with the program.
How to Get Alcoholics into Rehab
To be part of a 12-step program, a person should be willing to admit weakness and recognize that there is a greater power than themselves. Admitting weakness helps people build their faith and determination to be guided by their spiritual beliefs.
Participating in 12-step programs requires people to attend meetings with other people who are also suffering from substance use disorder. This process gives an individual a step-by-step guide to gain the knowledge and resources to form new habits and help stay away from harmful substances.
Let one of our rehab specialists explain our 12-step program:
What Are the 12 Steps?
A 12-step program gives participants a structure that allows them to surrender their addiction, process their experiences, and move forward. This process enables individuals to develop the mental and emotional practices and tools they need to overcome their addiction.
Here are the 12 steps to overcoming addiction as defined by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA):
1 – I admit that I can’t control my addiction, and life has become unmanageable.
When people are suffering from substance use disorder, they may lose their power to decide and act. Their free wills and their entire lives may be damaged because of their use of alcohol or drugs. Step 1 guides the individual to recognize weakness. It is the first step in seeking help.
2 – I believe that a higher power may help me. (This higher power may not be necessarily faith-based.)
The next step for individuals suffering from substance use disorder is the recognition that there is a higher power that may help them. By discussing a higher power and encouraging spiritual growth, the second step applies to various forms of spiritual expressions. It recognizes our limitations and weaknesses and states that there is something greater than ourselves.
3 – I’ve decided to ask a higher power for help.
In this step, individuals offer themselves to a greater power to seek assistance. It says that humans cannot accomplish things alone. Surrendering to a higher power enables people with drug disorders to strengthen their faith. It reassures them that assistance is on the way to help them escape from the bondage of alcohol or drug addiction.
4 – I’ve assessed the mistakes that I’ve made in my addiction.
One of the most important steps to overcoming addiction is to use reflection to examine one’s life. Reflection or self-evaluation helps people discover the flaws that caused their failures. Honest self-assessment may help people recognize what happened. Self-reflection encourages people to act, determine what went wrong, and decide what they should do.
5 – I’ve admitted my mistakes to my higher power and someone else.
For some people, admitting their mistakes to others is difficult. Sometimes, people think that admitting mistakes to oneself in private is enough. But this may not provide accountability and may give people the opportunity to make convenient excuses. This may make people susceptible to repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
6 – I’m willing to allow my higher power to help prevent me from making the same mistakes again.
Another important step of the 12-step program for addicted individuals emphasizes the person’s willingness to change. After recognizing their mistakes and their weaknesses, the sixth step allows people to find help from a higher power to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. They even surrender their weaknesses to a higher power.
7 – I’ve asked my higher power for assistance.
The seventh step includes a prayer to ask a higher power for help as a person surrenders himself or herself. The prayer asks for assistance to remove flaws, overcome challenges, and help people be of service to other people.
8 – I’ve made a list of all of the people I’ve hurt, and I’ve determined how to help them.
Another step of the 12-step program requires individuals to make lists of all of the people that they have hurt and all of the people they want to help by making amends. After self-reflection and the admission of guilt, people take steps toward healing people who have suffered because of their actions.
9 – I’ve made amends when I can to the people I can.
The ninth step of the 12 steps approach encourages people with substance use disorder to continue to help others and to seek spiritual growth. With spiritual growth, people may find the strength to do the right thing, no matter the consequences. Not even the loss of reputation or other repercussions may stop them from pursuing growth and healing.
10 – I’ve dedicated my time to searching inside myself and making amends when necessary.
After people finish or are pursuing the first nine steps of the 12-step program for addiction, the next step is take the time and effort to continue pursuing reflection, making amends, and staying on the course. In the tenth step, the person commits to avoid selfishness, dishonesty, fear, and resentment.
11 – I’ve committed to moving closer to my higher power.
To help the person with substance use disorder to keep sober and continue growing spiritually, the next step involves the commitment to stay conscious by meditating and praying. A person works at forming a relationship with a higher power, which may constantly remind him or her to do what is right.
12 – I’ve agreed to help others and spread the word of recovery.
The last step of the 12-step program for substance abuse recognizes the fact that intensive work with other people may be a vital part of recovery. At this stage, people with substance use disorder may find comfort and a sense of achievement by knowing that through their assistance, they may aid in the recovery of other people who are suffering from addiction.
Alternatives to the 12-Step Program
For those who think that the spiritual road to recovery is not for them, there are other alternatives to the 12-step program. You may reach out to groups that offer self-management as a tool to recovery. Much like 12-step programs, the groups also encourage meeting with peers. Unlike the principles of AA and similar groups, these non 12-step groups do not encourage people to surrender. Instead, they focus on empowering people to gain control over themselves and their addiction.
12-Step Program for Alcohol and Drug Addiction
12-step programs not only work for those suffering from alcohol and drug abuse. They have also been used by people suffering from emotional problems and other addictions, such as playing video games and gambling at casinos.
For example, in 1971, a group called Emotions Anonymous was founded to help people with emotional challenges. The group uses the same principles as the AA to achieve emotional wellness. In addition to the AA’s 12 steps, the Emotions Anonymous created 12 traditions, 12 concepts, and 12 promises.
There is also a group called Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous that adapted the 12-step program to help compulsive video gamers. The Gamblers Anonymous organization also adapted the 12-step program to help those with gambling addictions.
Clearly, addiction is not limited to alcohol and drug use and abuse. The 12-step rehab program may be applied to many addictions that a person may encounter.
The Path to Recovery
Each individual has different needs for treatment. Clients should study the options available to successfully recover from substance use disorder. Whether people choose 12-step or non 12-step approaches, it is important that they find customized treatment that works for them. This is only possible if people are knowledgeable about the various available options and recognize that they need to seek drug or alcohol addiction help.
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.
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