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Whether you’ve been researching residential rehab facilities for yourself or a loved one, you’re bound to come across the mention of a 12-step support program. The question is, is the 12-step addiction recovery method right for you?

When you’re looking for a residential rehab facility, it’s important to know what kind of treatment plans they offer, and what they’ll discuss in group therapy. Choosing a method based on your beliefs will give you your best chance at a life of sobriety and full recovery. A common treatment plan includes the 12-step addiction recovery method.

Connection is a big part of the 12-step addiction recovery method.

What is a 12-Step Addiction Recovery Method?

Pioneered by Alcohol Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s, the 12-step addiction recovery method is the most well-known support program in the world, with millions of active practitioners. The 12- steps are a self-help and peer-recovery method that guides addicts through the process of releasing blame and correcting erroneous ways. 

12-step support originated in Alcohol Anonymous.

The support program is used beyond alcohol and substance abuse recovery treatment. There are 12-step addiction recovery methods used in other addiction treatment programs, such as Debtors Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.

Is the 12-Step Addiction Recovery Method Religious?

The 12-step addiction recovery program mentions God as a higher power, but it has worked for people who aren’t religious. The 12 steps can be applied in a spiritual way without specific Christian values or beliefs.

12-step addiction recovery method is for those who abuse drugs and alcohol.
The 12-step addiction recovery method has been proven effective for many people.

What are the 12 steps?

The program teaches these steps in a group setting:

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 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.

The 12-step support program started in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Benefits of the 12-Step Addiction Recovery Method

The 12-step addiction recovery method can begin in residential addiction treatment and carry on into your aftercare, during outpatient treatment. Here are some ways 12-step meetings can benefit your recovery.

  • Provides a sense of belonging
  • Built-in social support network
  • Applicable values when you’re alone and facing challenges
  • Real advice for a life of sobriety
  • Non-judgemental space to share thoughts
  • Meetings are highly accessible and held often
Group therapy and the 12-step addiction recovery method provide social support for addicts.

Alternatives to the 12-step support program

Even if the 12-step support program doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, or you would like to experience a program implemented with religion or exercise, you can use these alternatives during rehab and in your aftercare.

Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR)

Y12SR uses a holistic approach to address the physical, mental and spiritual disease of addiction. Yoga focuses on the body while teaching the cognitive approach of the 12-step recovery model. Yoga studios around the country have monthly meetings that consist of a group sharing circle and before yoga. You can find one to attend here.

Even if the 12-step support program doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, or you would like to experience a program implemented with religion or exercise, you can use these alternatives during rehab and in your aftercare.

Yoga of 12-Step Recovery combines yoga with the 12-step addiction recovery method.

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a Christian-centered lifestyle recovery program based on eight principles from the bible. Participants will learn God’s Road to Recovery in the meetings. You can find a local group here.

Celebrate Recovery is an addiction recovery method based on eight principles from the bible.

LifeRing

It’s a nonreligious alternative that focuses on positive and forward-looking stories in a group meeting setting. Members are also able to reach each other online at any time in a chat. You can find a local group here.

SMART

Smart Management and Recovery Therapy is a nonreligious alternative to the 12 steps that use a 4-point program based that empowers the individual. The 4 points are:

  • Building and maintaining motivation
  • Coping with urges
  • Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  • Living a balanced life
The 12-step addiction recovery method is ideal for some, but other addicts may want to try a program such as Women for Sobriety, Celebrate Recovery or SMART.

Women for Sobriety

The Women for Sobriety group works to help women in recovery. Their main focus is on regaining self-worth and confidence. It includes 13 statements to help women on the road to sobriety.

Summary

The 12-step addiction recovery method is a tried-and-true treatment for addiction recovery, no matter if you need support for substances, alcohol, or other addictions. The 12 steps aren’t limited to a certain religion and can be helpful when applied spiritually. When you apply the 12 steps, you’ll have a message to rely on during challenging times, a sober social support network practicing the same values, and a method to prevent relapse in your aftercare.

If you’re willing to give the 12 steps a chance but you learn better with a hands-on approach, attending a mind-body class such as the Yoga of 12 Steps could be your next step. If the 12-step addiction recovery method isn’t for you, there are plenty of alternative cognitive-focused treatment programs with messages that will resonate with you.

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