12-Step Recovery Programs for Addiction


Nobody sets out to be an addict, whether it is an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or anything. Addicts may have a history of abuse, neglect, watching others excessively indulge in substances, or getting themselves in stressful situations. However, addiction to any substance or lifestyle is not the end of the world. There are so many recovery programs and centers that help along the way to full recovery.

Most rehab centers and programs use 12-step programs to help addicts get rid of their addiction. Although it may seem like a lengthy process, a 12-step recovery program is usually over before you know it. And it has been proven to be effective for the most part.

12-Step Recovery Program: What It Is

Checking yourself into a rehab center for addiction treatment is usually the first step to recovery. But it is not part of what makes up a 12-step rehab program or even the end of it. A 12-step recovery program is a plan with 12 steps to help addicts overcome their compulsions and addictions. 

The rationale behind the program is that there is strength in numbers; having a community around you will encourage abstinence. However, it believes that complete healing from all addictions comes from a power bigger than each individual.

The power does not have to be a god or deity as organized religions and gatherings know it. It may be something as simple as having a support group that keeps you accountable throughout the 12-step program. It may also be a power that appeals to your spirituality or the universe, as long as you do not solely depend on yourself for recovery.

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The program began with Alcohol Anonymous, or AA, back in 1938. The founder of AA, Bill Wilson, penned down ideas and thoughts that came to him throughout his experience with alcoholism. He found that sharing experiences and struggles with the addiction to alcohol with other people in similar situations helped a great deal. It became a book called the Big Book that many addicts depend on for recovery.

The 12 steps originally had a spiritual beginning founded on spiritual principles. You can read this article for more on these principles. The author sought to find permanent help from a higher power and people with the same addiction struggles. 

The book was meant to help people who had no means of attending AA meetings so that they could remain a part of the recovery process. However, the book has become a general model for recovery programs. It does not apply only to AA; it spans all recovery programs for different addictions.

Common Practices in the Programs

The premise of a 12-step program is support from others suffering from substance or behavioral addiction and other helpers. The thought is that when you have people around you who understand your struggles, do not judge you, and are willing to help you hit the road to full recovery, you are more likely to have better and longer-lasting results.

You are more likely to find people with better physical and mental health as they recover because they abstained. The programs support practices that promote abstinence, but it is not every member that adheres to them, as this article explains. So, some recover faster and better than others, with little or no relapses.

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The program model that cuts across all types of addiction inculcates the following mindset and practices in a person recovering from addiction:

  • Ability to acknowledge an addiction problem
  • Surrender to this knowledge and willingness to seek outside help for recovery
  • Awareness and observation of specific behaviors that sprang from and became a part of the addiction and those that encourage abstinence
  • Opportunities to practice abstinence and restraint and develop self-esteem in positive strengths
  • Self-acceptance and the capacity to transform behaviors
  • Genuine compassion for people going through struggles with addiction and those negatively affected by the addiction
  • Tools to encourage the positive process for a lifetime

Effectiveness of the Programs

The effectiveness of a product or service typically depends on your specific needs. What works for one person may not be effective for the next one. The same applies to the 12-step recovery program for any addiction. However, if you want to achieve total abstinence from abusing substances, the program will be effective.

As with everything else, you must put your back into it to see desired results. It is not an automatic process where you sit back and allow the steps to work. Like members would say, ‘it will work if you work it’ the personal success of the program depends on you. Nevertheless, a few factors affect the efficacy of the program.

If you have an addiction to a substance or lifestyle but have no history of mental illness, the 12-step program will be effective. And if you have a mental health issue and a substance abuse disorder, the program will also work for you. Click here: https://journals.scholarsportal.info/ for more information on these factors. In other words, the 12-step rehab programs are effective for these two groups.

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However, some people exit the program before the timeline runs out, more than forty percent within the first year of commencement. They usually find it too hard. A few have issues with the spiritual or Christian aspects of the program, and while there are alternatives for members who want a more secular program, many never return.

Generally speaking, these programs are some of the most effective for recovering from substance abuse, no matter what the substance is. There is no stipulated length of time to complete a program, but most will require attending a meeting every day for a month or going for ninety meetings in ninety days. The bottom line is to follow the process and ensure you see results in your life.


You may find that not every rehab uses 12-step recovery programs for addiction, and that is all good. The point is to follow a process that helps members leave their destructive life and focus on becoming better people, both for themselves and their loved ones.

However, you will find many programs that follow the 12-step model. The model is highly effective and has a record of long-term abstinence for members who complete it.


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