12-Step Program for Alcohol and Drug Addiction


Based on spiritual principles, the 12 Step Recovery Programme are powerful peer support groups that help people abstain from alcohol and drug use for life. This program is a great initiative taken by people in recovery to help themselves and others stay sober. Though lifetime abstinence from substance use is challenging, the 12-step program helps people take small steps every day to achieve sobriety and maintain the same.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), 12-step programs are used for addiction treatment worldwide. In one of their surveys, SAMSHA also reported that 12-step recovery programmes are used by 74% of the treatment centers, approximately. Many addiction recovery programs for behavioral and co-occurring mental disorders also use the 12-step program.

Members are encouraged to attend regular meetings, share their experiences, and talk about their challenges. Also, for people who experience relapse, access to sober support is provided by this 12-step program. This practice provides the necessary tools to fight the relapse before it becomes a destructive spiral. This program also guides people towards a new way of life. Find out if you need a 12-step program for alcohol addiction and drug addiction below:

The Key Steps of the 12-Step Programme

Though every treatment centre uses its own version to describe the original twelve steps of AA (alcoholic anonymous), the gist of each step remains the same for all recovery programs using the 12-step model.

Let’s explore these steps and their principles in depth so that you can apply the same in your lives and gain strength for recovery.

  1. Honesty: 90% of substance abusers stay in denial. However, recovery can begin with a simple acceptance of one’s powerlessness over alcohol or any other drug that you are addicted to. Not only the addicted person but the family members and friends should also accept the fact that their loved one has an addiction.
  2. Faith: Having faith in the higher power is all that you need on the path of recovery. People with addiction must accept that a higher power can help them heal.
  3. Surrender: Believing that only a higher power can help you and making a commitment to living a spiritual life.
  4. Soul Searching: The recovery process also involves your accountability. A person in recovery must identify their problems and understand how their actions and behaviors affect others.
  5. Integrity: In most 12-step programs, the person in recovery has to admit their wrongs in front of the higher power and another person. In this step, there is an opportunity for growth.
  6. Acceptance: Accepting one’s character defects and being willing to let them go is the key to the sixth step. One should be ready that God will correct any shortcomings in one’s character.
  7. Humility: The 12-step spiritual process encourages people to ask a higher power to remove their shortcomings, which cannot be done by self or mere determination.
  8. Willingness: Most people with addiction behave irresponsibly towards others. Hence, addicts must acknowledge their past behaviors and make a list of people they have hurt.
  9. Forgiveness: Surrendering yourself or making amends may seem challenging. Hence, a person in recovery should be willing to make amends with those who have been hurt.
  10. Maintenance: Continue taking a personal inventory as in step 4 and admit that you have done some things wrong.
  11. Making Contact: After developing spirituality through all the previous steps, people now use prayers and meditation to connect with the higher power and seek enlightenment.
  12. Service: You must carry the knowledge and messages learned in the 12-step recovery program to others in need. It will help boost your self-esteem.

Effectiveness of the 12-Step Recovery Programme

People who genuinely want to overcome their addiction get the benefit of the 12-step model as it supports, and encourages them. The recovery program is highly effective in fostering long-term abstinence from substance use. The 12 steps of the recovery program transition people from a state of depression and addiction to sobriety.

As per the formal research, a 12-step program or support group surveys lead to better outcomes, for example:

  •     Incorporating the 12-step program into specialized addiction treatment therapies ensures better results.
  •     Greater involvement of a person in the 12-step model also promises better outcomes.
  •     12-step program allows patients to participate in the activities and be a part of meetings regularly to avoid relapse.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the 12-Step Recovery Programme

While a 12-step recovery plan is effective for many people, it is advisable to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the program to make an informed decision.


  •                 Community-based
  •                 Readily available
  •                 Encourage members to actively participate in the recovery process
  •                 Offers offline and online therapies
  •                 A free resource for addiction recovery


  •                 Chronic health conditions make it more challenging
  •                 12-step program does not take accountability for individuals
  •                 The concept of powerlessness may seem to disempower some people
  •                 Physical aspects of recovery are not covered, such as detox
  •                 It may be less effective for women, BIPOC, and sexual minorities


Find Rehabs with 12-Step Programmes Near You

In recent years, the scope of the 12-step program has seen an expansive emergence. In combination with alcohol and drug addiction recovery, the 12-step program also addresses issues like behavioral addictions. With more than 50,000 support groups available nationwide, you must find one that suits all your needs. You can contact a nearby alcohol rehab or recovery center if they provide the 12-step recovery program. Don’t forget to ask about the alcohol rehab cost, its duration, work approach, and success rates.

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