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What Is the 12-Step Approach?

a 12 step program helps a diverse group of people maintain their sobriety on their recovery journey after addiction treatment

Finding help for addiction recovery can be tough. Everyone’s needs are different, and it may feel discouraging to try multiple strategies before finding an approach that works for you. Nonetheless, addressing addiction is key to a healthy, happy life. If you or your loved one could use help with this difficult but important journey, rest assured there are many great resources available.

Oftentimes, finding not only the right treatment but a long-term community can be a game-changer. If you’ve ever wondered what the 12-step approach to addiction recovery entails, you’re starting off in a great direction. Reach out to NuLife Behavioral Health’s qualified staff at 888.568.2057 or online to talk about time-tested addiction treatments like a 12-step rehab program, along with the range of services we offer at our facilities.

What Is the 12-Step Approach and Why Is it Special?

Originating in the 1930s as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), 12-step programs have expanded to serve millions since that time. Programs are available for those working with everything from narcotics addiction to overeating, and offerings continue to expand. Whatever the addiction, chances are good there’s a support group out there that can help. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more virtual offerings have also become available. This makes going to meetings even more convenient and accessible.

Unlike many treatment providers, 12-step groups don’t have a traditional hierarchy. Officers are generally elected within each group to take care of logistical needs like leading introductions, collecting and tracking donations for operations and snacks, and renting spaces. The groups are, therefore, very tied to their individual locales or, nowadays, the online communities they serve.

When they take place in person, 12-step meetings are typically held in spaces owned by community centers or churches. Participants identify themselves by first name and last initial only, allowing for some anonymity within a nonetheless supportive peer group.

What Are the Components of a 12-Step Approach for Addiction Treatment?

The 12-step model was born in a nondenominational Christian context but has become even more inclusive over the years. The language used in meetings still usually includes references to a God or a higher power. Nonetheless, participants can interpret this broadly. Over the course of meeting attendance, participants work to carry out 12 tasks along the lines of the following:

  1. Admitting they’ve lost control of their addiction and their life
  2. Expressing and cultivating belief that a higher power can help
  3. Surrendering to this higher power
  4. Engaging in brave self-reflection as thoroughly as possible
  5. Admitting to themselves, the higher power, and at least one other person what wrongs they’ve committed due to substance abuse
  6. Making themselves open to the higher power removing personal faults or tendencies that raise their likelihood of falling into addiction
  7. Requesting the higher power remove these faults and tendencies
  8. Taking inventory of everyone who has suffered due to their addiction and preparing internally to make things right
  9. Working to actually make things right with these people to the greatest extent possible without doing more harm
  10. Engaging in ongoing self-reflection and taking responsibility for setbacks when they occur
  11. Engaging in prayer, meditation, etc., as a way to ask the higher power to provide clarity and inner strength moving forward
  12. Serving others struggling with addiction and carrying the values of the 12 steps into their lives as a whole

A 12-step program can be an invaluable resource for people in recovery. In fact, those who continue in aftercare programs and peer support groups after treatment tend to have higher success rates in maintaining sobriety.

Reach Out to NuLife Recovery Services Massachusetts to Learn More About the 12-Step Approach for Addiction Recovery

Don’t struggle with addiction recovery alone when there are so many resources at your fingertips. Many, like 12-step programs, are free and based on goodwill donations. Learn more and get help finding such a program in your area by calling NuLife Behavioral Health at 888.568.2057 or reaching out to us online. We’re standing by to answer your questions or tell you more about our many other offerings in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, and Indiana.