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The Use of 12 Step Philosophies In Addiction Treatment

August 12, 2018

If you are searching for drug or alcohol treatment in South Florida, you have probably seen that a lot of rehab facilities brand themselves as centered around the “12 Steps.” So what exactly are the 12 Steps? And how do they impact the addiction treatment you or a loved one will receive?

Background of 12-Step Programs

In order to understand the 12 Steps and how they invariably affect the addiction treatment you will receive, you’ll want to know a bit of background information about the program known worldwide as “Alcoholics Anonymous.” In the 1930’s, a man named Bill Wilson was struggling to overcome his own alcohol dependency. With the help of a fellow alcoholic named Dr. Bob, the two men started a fellowship based on the principle that they themselves could stay sober only while helping another alcoholic. This fellowship is now referred to as Alcoholics Anonymous, a fellowship of which millions worldwide are now members. AA is where the concept of the 12-step program was conceived, though spin-off programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (which is more centered around helping those whose primary DOC was substances as opposed to alcohol) use similar philosophies and steps.  Based on faith in a higher power of the addict’s choosing and conception, the 12 steps are principles that help guide the alcohol or drug dependent through recovery. The (abridged) steps are:

  1. Admit you are powerless over alcohol
  2. Believe that a higher power can restore sanity
  3. Turn yourself over to God
  4. Make a personal, moral inventory
  5. Admit to the nature of your wrongs
  6. Allow God to repair personal defects
  7. Ask God’s forgiveness
  8. Make a list of those harmed by your alcoholism and be willing to make amends
  9. Work to make amends to these people so long as doing so doesn’t cause harm
  10. Take a personal inventory and admit wrongs each day
  11. Seek God’s guidance
  12. Carry the message to others

The Influence of The Steps

So how do these “steps” help to dictate the philosophies of various addiction treatment centers throughout South Florida and beyond? One way that 12 Step Programs serve to influence treatment programming is through the importance of a “higher power.” While most rehab facilities are not inherently religious, the concept of a higher power is a huge part of both AA and NA and subsequently finds its way into the clinical philosophies of many a drug rehab. Faith in a higher power is perhaps the ultimate key to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and millions of addicts all over the world have found sobriety by relying upon a force greater than them. Though some have issues with the initial religious language of AA and its principle text- The Big Book, most are able to find some concept of a higher power- such as a family member, favorite activity, or even sobriety itself. This concept helps to combat the grandiosity and unsuccessful self-reliance so germane to the disease of addiction and winding road to recovery.

The Steps Create Community- and Support

The community 12-Step Programs create and promote is another big part of how they influence drug and alcohol treatment centers in Florida and all over. AA and NA groups bring together people who, no matter what their status or circumstance, have one thing in common – addiction. This creates an unalienable sense of community, camaraderie, empathy and support. The primary goal of members of AA and NA is to help “newcomers,” those just trying to get sober. The newcomers are able to hear how those with time achieved sobriety, and can also receive feedback and guidance. Treatment center programming often works in much the same way- therapists or patients with more time can offer support and advice for those just starting the process. AA also provides a mentorship (the process of “sponsoring” or being a “sponsee” of someone with more substantial clean time) that is often mimicked by residential and outpatient treatment centers alike.

AA and other 12-Step programs have benefited millions across the world, so it makes sense that drug and alcohol treatment centers (in part) rely upon the philosophy central to them. If you are searching for a treatment center with a deep understanding of the 12 Steps and the programs that utilize them, search no further than Truth Recovery Center. Truth Recovery Center treats the spiritual, mental and physical factors behind addiction- providing addicts with the best chance at long-lasting recovery.v