What is a 12-Step Program?

The 12-Step recovery model was pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939 and is now widely used in a majority of treatment centers worldwide to help people recover from a wide range of conditions and most famously, drug or alcohol addiction.

Learning and practicing the 12 steps also serves as a major guide towards helping those in recovery learn a new way of life free from dependence on these substances.

The basic premise of the 12-Step model is that individuals can help each other achieve and maintain abstinence from the behaviors or substances to which they are addicted. The two main features of the 12-Step recovery program include:

  • A group setting –During these group meetings, the 12 steps are discussed and applied in a recovery group. The emphasis here is placed on people sharing their experiences with others who have suffered similar problems and finding support as they seek to change their lives.
  • A sponsor- Many of those involved in the program find another member (who is also a recovering addict further along in the recovery process) to serve as a sponsor. This person acts as a mentor, providing guidance and help in times of crisis when the temptation to relapse becomes overwhelming.

The 12-Step model gives people a framework from which to surrender their addiction, process what they have been and are going through, and move forward into a new way of living.

The 12 Steps of Recovery From Addiction Infographic

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