What is the 12-Step Program?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who were both alcoholics. Originally published in 1939, the 12-Step program is a spiritual philosophy to help those who are struggling with addictions achieve and maintain sobriety. Originally created to help individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs), the 12 Step model is used in a variety of treatment programs from drug addiction, gambling and eating disorders. The basic premise of the 12-Step program is to address addiction through a peer-supported system (Monico, 2019). The guidelines are outlined in “steps” towards recovery:

• Step 1: Honesty
Admitting we are powerless over the addiction.
• Step 2: Faith
Believing in a higher power (regardless of form) can help.
• Step 3: Surrender
Deciding to surrender control over to a higher power.
• Step 4: Soul Searching
Taking a personal inventory.
• Step 5: Integrity
Admitting to a higher power, oneself, and another human the wrongs done.
• Step 6: Acceptance
Willing to have a higher power correct any flaws in one’s character.
• Step 7: Humility
Asking a higher power to remove those flaws.
• Step 8: Willingness
Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends.
• Step 9: Forgiveness
Reaching out to those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person.
• Step 10: Maintenance
Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when wrong.
• Step 11: Making Contact
Seeking insight and connection with a higher power through meditation and prayer.
• Step 12: Service
Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need.

Are the 12 Steps right for me?

Since its inception in 1939, variations of the 12 Steps have been created. Some people are not comfortable with the religious aspects of the 12-Step program. Those who do not practice Christianity have modified the steps to better reflect their spiritual beliefs. There are even some alternatives to the 12-Step program that focus on the individual’s ability to exercise internal control.

While there are many opinions surrounding the 12-Step program, it’s important to emphasize that an individual does not need to be religious or believe in God to make the program work. Although the 12 Steps were written from a Christian point of view, the concepts are open to interpretation (Sack, 2012). The steps are meant to act as a guide that people use to help one another achieve and maintain abstinence from substances to which they are addicted.

Daylight Recovery Center provides nationally-recognized substance abuse treatment. Our abstinence-based rehabilitation programs focus on the entire patient – mind, body and spirit. Abstinence is only a piece of the “recovery” puzzle. By implementing positive recovery practices, such as counting one’s blessings, we help those who’s lives have been de-railed by addiction, by reinforcing healthy habits. Experts categorize the mental health of individuals’ in three groups – flourishing, languishing or moderately mentally healthy. To be flourishing in life, individuals must exhibit high levels of emotional wellbeing and positive functioning. In contrast, a person who is languishing will exhibit low levels. Individuals who do not meet the criteria for flourishing or languishing are considered moderately mentally healthy (McGaffin et al., 2015). Research shows patients who seek residential abstinence-based practices, as supported by 12-Step programs, are more likely to flourish in the long-term in recovery.

Ready to get help?

Are you tired of drugs and alcohol controlling your life? We’re here to help. Our friendly team of admissions coordinators are happy to answer any questions and get you the help you need. We’re available 24/7! 888-708-2602

Monico, N. (2019, 31 October) The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Retrieved from https://www.alcohol.org/alcoholics-anonymous/
Sack, D. (2012, 20 November) Why the Hostility Toward the 12 Steps? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201211/why-the-hostility-toward-the-12-steps
McGaffin, B., Deane, F., Kelly, P. and Cearrochi, J. (2015). Flourishing, languishing and moderate mental health: Prevalence and change in mental health during recovery from drug and alcohol problems. [online] Josephciarrochi.com. Retrieved from http://josephciarrochi.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/mcgaffin-et-al-ciarrochi-2015-flourishing-languaging-and-moderate-mental-health-prevelance-and-change-in-mental-health-during-recovery.pdf