Why Twelve-Step Programs are an Important Part of Addiction Treatment

According to estimates, as much as ten percent of the American population over the age of 12 is currently suffering from addiction. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refers to the ever-increasing rates of addiction as an epidemic. This is why addiction treatment as well as prevention have remained a major concern to both citizens as well as public officials and lawmakers. With addiction causing such profound deterioration, it continues to have a major impact on society; moreover, it causes severe physical, mental, emotional, and even social effects on those who become addicts. As the disease causes such varied effects, it’s incredibly difficult to overcome and requires extensive treatment.

Most addiction experts and physicians encourage individuals to participate in clinical addiction treatment programs in order to beat their physical dependencies. However, there are other avenues of recovery available to those in need. For instance, there are replacement therapies available, which includes methadone maintenance, a very controversial form of addiction treatment. Alternately, millions have had success in recovery as a result of attending twelve-step meetings and working the Twelve Steps.

The first and original twelve-step program, Alcoholics Anonymous, was started in 1935. Bill Wilson — credited as the program’s founder — was an alcoholic himself and had tried many of the support groups and programs available at the time. While there were bits and pieces of the various recovery methods that he felt were useful, Wilson felt that most of them were lacking in several important ways. In particular, the faith-based and spiritually-oriented recovery methods tended to view substance abuse as a sin, which was meant to discourage addicts from consuming alcohol and drugs as this would make them sinners. While trying to help a colleague, Dr. Bob Smith, recover from alcoholism, Wilson created his renowned Twelve Steps and the twelve-step method that quickly gained momentum and has remained incredibly popular ever since.

What Do Twelve-Step Programs Have to Offer?

12 step program for addiction treatment

Everyone in need of addiction treatment will have his or her own specific needs. While many individuals respond strongly to the clinical treatments of an addiction recovery program offered at an alcohol or drug rehab, there are those with spiritual needs that wouldn’t be addressed by such programming. Wilson’s twelve-step method was designed to be a way for individuals to achieve a physical, mental, and emotional recovery just as treatment programs do, but with an emphasis on one’s spiritual needs at front and center. When an addict begins attending twelve-step meetings, he or she quickly learns that twelve-step groups offer members a very substantial peer support network. These groups are self-run rather than being hosted by professionals and each meeting typically consists of guided discussion, individuals sharing their experiences or recovery progress, or a pseudo-lecture on the Alcoholics Anonymous literature.

Individuals need only the desire to overcome their addictions to become members and new members are encouraged to begin working the steps as well as find a sponsor. One’s sponsor serves as both a mentor and a tutor. A sponsor must have demonstrated proficient and thorough knowledge of the Twelve Steps as well as having accrued an extended period of sober time. While working with a sponsor, individuals learn about and work each of the steps in order. Working the steps is a cumulative process that is intended to help members have a spiritual awakening; additionally, they’re instructed to take an inventory of character defects, appeal to the higher powers of their understandings to remove those defects, make amends to individuals wronged, and so on. In effect, working the steps provides individuals with the spiritual inspiration to resist substance abuse.

Combining Treatment with the Twelve Steps

Contrary to twelve-step programs that are more focused on one’s spiritual journey as part of addiction recovery, treatment programs consist of psychotherapy and counseling, group sessions, addiction and psycho education, family therapy, skills-building session, and relapse prevention. The underlying goal of addiction treatment is to help addicts achieve sobriety while also addressing each individual’s underlying issues that led to the development of his or her addiction in the first place; by addressing the underlying causes of addiction, the goal is to prevent those causes from rendering the individual powerless to alcohol or drugs again in the future.

Between the physical and mental treatments of a clinical recovery program, the spiritual recovery one achieves through twelve-step programs, and the camaraderie and support that being in twelve-step programs offer an individual’s needs are addressed in a comprehensive manner. Essentially, combining the twelve-step method with an addiction treatment program is a means of considering the extensive variation in which the effects of addiction come.

Call Addiction Information for a Free Consultation Today

When it comes to the role that twelve-step groups and treatment programs have in recovery, programs available at rehabs allow individuals to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety while twelve-step programs are effective at affording individuals spiritual fulfillment and supportive networks of peers. If you or someone you love would like a free consultation or assessment, call Recovery Hub at 1-888-220-4352. Our intake coordinators are always available to those in need. Simply pick up the phone and call us today to begin the journey to a new life of health, happiness, and fulfillment.

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