Why Are The 12 Steps Part Of Treatment Programs For Drug And Alcohol Addiction?

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People often joke they pay a lot of money for a “big book”, the nickname given to Alcoholics Anonymous, the textbook to the original 12 step program, when they go to treatment. Treatment, or “rehab” for drug and alcohol addiction is about much more than the 12 steps. Most treatment programs are using advanced treatment methods, bringing together healing modalities for mental wellness, physical wellness, and spiritual wellness. Part of the philosophy which contributes to the holistic approach for treating drug and alcohol addiction comes from the 12 steps.

At the time of its publication in 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous was a revolutionary approach to the confounding issue of alcoholism. Doctors, patients, and the family members of patients alike saw no solution to the insanity of alcoholism. One of the first chapters in Alcoholics Anonymous is titled “There Is A Solution” because the founders of AA and their first 100 members found relief. Called a spiritual program, the suggested steps of recovery within the book emphasize that alcoholism affects a person with a “peculiar mental twist” which causes a “physical allergy” rooted in a “spiritual malady”. The founders of AA were the pioneers of the mind, body, spirit approach. As a result, much of today’s treatment rests on the philosophies of Alcoholics Anonymous and many of the themes within the 12 steps.

Are the 12 steps the answer to alcoholism?

Many people find recovery and stay sober for a lifetime simply by attending 12 step meetings and living a 12 step “lifestyle”. Unfortunately, many, many more do not. The 12 steps are an important tool for one to use,  in addition to other tools they learn through treatment and therapy.

Do The 12 steps work for everyone?

There is a lot of use of the word “God” and spirituality in the 12 steps. For many people, this is a challenge they cannot overcome. Recovery is supposed to be an individualized process in which a plan for treatment is created around what works for the individual. If the 12 steps don’t work for you, that’s okay. They are not the only way to stay sober. They can be very helpful.

Are the 12 steps evidence based?

Currently, there is little research on how effective the 12 steps are in short term and long term. Millions of people worldwide have found lifetimes of reprieve from alcoholism, drug addiction, and many other issues the 12 steps have been applied to. Due to the anonymity of the programs, conducting studies can be difficult. ChooseHelp.com lists some studies which have found that 12 step programs help reduce symptoms of depression, increase long term sobriety, and more.

 

Aurora Recovery Center believes in the foundational philosophies of the 12 steps and the practical use of the 12 steps in developing a lifestyle of recovery. Mental, physical, and spiritual wellness is the core of our treatment programs for addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring mental health conditions. Let us show you the way to recovery. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.

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