How the 12 Steps Fit into Addiction Treatment Therapies

treatment with 12 steps

For over seven decades, countless millions of addicts around the world have embraced 12-step groups and used their philosophy as the foundation for their recovery. such as SMART Recovery, LifeRing and Rational Recovery, 12-step based groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are still extremely popular and hugely influential among all kinds of addicts. These groups work because they provide those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse a safe place to go and addicts can learn recovery techniques from one another in a positive and supportive environment. In almost every town and city across the United States and around the world, a variety of 12-step support groups are available for any addict to attend.

12 Step Groups And Their Place in Addiction Treatment

Because of the effectiveness of 12-step programs, it is no surprise that many addiction treatment centers have adopted this philosophy as part of the care they provide. While not every treatment program places emphasis on 12-step philosophy, a vast majority of facilities do make the 12 steps an integral part of their treatment and aftercare programming. 12-Step addiction treatment programs help provide much needed structure along with the consistent encouragement and support mentioned earlier in this article.

Most 12-step programs will include some or all of the steps. Although these steps can be useful for many people throughout their recovery process, the 12-step approach can be extremely effective if it is paired with some type of behavioral therapy. Behavior therapy is extremely important in any drug treatment program and is a valuable tool in helping the addict truly break free from their addiction. Addiction is more than just a physical dependence on drugs. After the physical dependence is cured, addicts face a host of triggers and temptations that can derail their recovery which includes personal stress, environmental stress and the people they associated with who are either active in substance use or may not be supportive of the addict’s decision to become clean and sober.

group of people holding hands in prayer

How 12 Step Philosophy Fits Into Treatment Therapy

Most all drug treatment facilities offer a variety of therapies as part of 12-Step based treatment. The most common type of behavioral treatment that is used is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy is focused on the addict’s present situation and addresses their distorted beliefs and behaviors. By utilizing problem-solving skills, therapists work with addicts to determine how realistic their distressing and distorted thoughts are and work to modify those beliefs in order to change those behaviors. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-Step philosophy have a lot in common. When you look at the Steps and the tenets of CBT, you will find several areas in which both philosophies intersect. For example, let’s take a look at Step One of Alcoholics Anonymous:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

The theme of powerlessness in the face of addiction perfectly encapsulates the main principle behind cognitive behavioral therapy which is the focus on the here and now. In the here and now, the addict identifies they have a major issue with their addiction (in this example an addiction to alcohol) and find behaviors and attitudes they want to change.

Another example of the synergy between the 12-Steps and CBT can be found in the Fourth Step. When we look at the Fourth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous we see the following:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

In cognitive-behavioral therapy, one of the main therapist-guided exercises that are used are what are called thought records. Though records are guided written exercises that are used to keep track of behaviors you want to address and to create awareness surrounding one’s emotional and cognitive responses. This helps addicts gain insight into the roots of their trauma and it helps them get at their core beliefs about themselves and negative self-talk.

Additionally, the 12 Steps and CBT work together in the Eighth Step. In this step, addicts are asked to make a list of all the people they have harmed and are willing to make amends to them all. A core belief in cognitive behavior therapy is to identify problem behavior and damaged relationships are arguably the most important problem behavior. The only way an addict can move forward in recovery is to have the willingness to acknowledge these damaged relationships and find ways to fix them.

Do You Need Additional Information on 12-Step Treatment Therapy?

If you have further questions on 12-Step treatment therapy or are looking for the best options in addiction treatment for you or a loved one, you can turn to Recovery Hub. We provide the most comprehensive information and resources regarding all available treatment options. Whether you are looking for a medical detox, inpatient drug treatment, outpatient treatment or aftercare options, the expert staff at Recovery Hub will be able to guide you the resources and help that you need. Don’t wait another day to get help, call us toll-free today and begin your recovery journey. 888-220-4352.

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