Before the numerous addiction treatment programs that we have today, the 12-step combined with the twelve traditions is a program that has been in existence for a while. The program is regarded by many to be effective while others question its effectiveness.
Despite the contradicting opinions and views, the impact of the program cannot be downplayed. Many other programs have taken them and modified them a bit to suit their own needs and models.
Therefore, in this article, we will take a look at this addiction recovery model that has been around for a while. We will share with you the key information that you need to know about the 12-step program.
The 12-Steps Program History
The history of this recovery model can be traced back to Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) (Visit https://www.aa.org/ to find out more about this community). In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous was founded, while the twelve steps were created and developed within those early years by the founders of the group.
The community is designed to that member will provide a joint support system to one another in the battle against alcohol addiction. In other words, through this cooperation, members in the group can attain and maintain sobriety.
The 12 steps served as guidelines for group members to overcome alcohol addiction. The success of the model when it was first developed and practiced was so widespread that other addiction recovery support groups began to modify the steps to fit their addictive substance or behavior. As a result, there are different 12-step models for several addictions that make use of the methods of this program.
The steps are originally founded on Christian beliefs and principles, nevertheless, many non-Christians and nonreligious folks have agreed that the steps have been very impactful. The language used in the steps stresses the existence of God but allows each member to interpret this based on their understanding of God.
The Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps
AA believes that the process of recovery is for life, hence, the guidelines in the steps cannot be approached wrongly. Instead, a person is to find out what is the best method for them and then follow it. It has been discovered that most members along their recovery journey have to go back to some stages in the program while others handle several stages at once.
The basis of the program is found in steps 1 to 3 and members are advised to practice them every day.
With that said, below are the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 steps:
- Admitting that you do not have power over alcohol and as a result, your life is now unmanageable.
- Accepting and believing that you can only be restored to sobriety by the help of a Power higher than you.
- Deciding to hand over your will and life to God’s care.
- Take an inventory of yourself and then examine how much damage the addiction has caused you.
- Admitting to God, then to yourself, and finally to others about the extent of your wrongdoings.
- Surrendering to God to help you overcomes these character defects.
- Humbly asking God to remove the defects and shortcomings.
- Making a list of people you have wronged, and then becoming willing to right those wrongs.
- Directly righting the wrongs against those you have offended when it is probable, except when righting the wrongs could harm others.
- Continuing to take inventory of yourself and admit immediately whenever you are wrong.
- Seeking an improved relationship with God through meditation and prayer, while praying to understand God’s will for you and to be empowered to fulfill the will.
- Carrying this message of recovery to other alcoholics after you have become spiritually awakened and continuing in the practice of these guidelines in all you do.
The Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Traditions
While the 12 steps refer to the individual, the focus of the 12 traditions is broader and speaks to the AA group. The Big Book which is the main literature of the AA contains the 12 traditions. Read this page to learn more about the Big Book.
Just like the 12 steps, many support groups that adapted the steps have also amended the traditions to fit their recovery plans.
Below are the traditions:
- The common welfare of the group comes first; your personal recovery is dependent on the unity of the AA.
- The ultimate authority of the group is God who is loving and is expressed collectively in our conscience. Even the leaders are just trusted servants, not rulers.
- To be a member of AA, the desire to quit drinking is the only condition.
- Every group must maintain anonymity except when it affects other AA groups or Alcoholics Anonymous in general.
- Every group is saddled with just one purpose which is to carry the group’s message to suffering alcoholics.
- No AA group should lend, finance, or endorse the AA to outside entities to avoid issues that could turn the focus of the group from the main purpose.
- Each group must be able to support itself financially and refuse funds from outside the group.
- AA will remain nonprofessional forever; however, service centers can employ workers.
- Alcoholics Anonymous is never to be organized; however, committees or service boards can be created that will still be responsible to the group.
- AA does not have any opinion regarding other external issues; therefore, the name of the group shouldn’t be brought into any form of controversy in the public.
- The policy of AA’s public relations is attraction and not promotion; hence, personal anonymity must be maintained even to the press.
- The spiritual basis of the group’s collective traditions is anonymity which helps us keep in mind that personalities should not come before principles.
How effective is this Model?
The 12 step rehab model is quite popular; however, formal research is not available to readily evaluate its effectiveness. The reason for this is that most of the members are anonymous. Nevertheless, the relevance of this treatment to date and the success stories that have come from many quarters suggests that the model is indeed effective.
One thing about this program that has made it widespread and acceptable by many is the support system the group creates for its members. The constant meetings ensure that the members are accountable to others within the group.
As we said, many other support groups have adopted this model. Therefore, if you are battling an addiction and would like to try this model, you should look and ask around for a 12-step support group that deals with your kind of addiction.