12 step programs have been a major part of helping addicts recover
before, during and after the rehabilitation process. The first and most
famous, of these programs, AA or Alcoholics Anonymous started in the
1930′s. Since then the 12 step model has been proven to be effective not
only for alcoholism, but for a wide range of addictions and
dysfunctional and obsessive behaviors.
12 step programs are based on the text “Alcoholics Anonymous,” AKA “The
Big Book.” Written by Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, and a few friends. The book
explains how AA was started, and how the process worked for them. The
tenets outlined in this book are known as the 12 steps. The 12 step
program has since gone on to become the most successful overall program
for treating alcoholism.
The 12 step program focuses on finding the recovering alcoholic/addict
the freedom from the strong grasp of addiction, through spirituality and
placing faith in a “Higher Power”. By following the 12 steps, and
attending meetings, the addicted individual can find the knowledge and
strength needed to conquer their addiction. Beating addiction is not an
easy task, but the application of the 12 step program, and support of
other 12 step graduates and a “sponsor,” has been shown to greatly
decrease the odds of a relapse.
The 12 steps:
1) We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – 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 God
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
7) Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
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 God, praying only for
knowledge of God’s 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 other addicts, and to practice
these principles in all our affairs.
You can find many organization that use the twelve steps in various forms, such as Marijuana Anonymous, Al-Anon, Overeaters Anonymous, and of course the original Twelve Concepts from the Big Book.
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