What Are 12-Step Recovery Programs and How Do They Work?

If you have been struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, chances are you’ve heard of a 12 step program. There is not a significant amount of evidence backing up these programs, but there are some studies that seem promising, and plenty of people swear by their efficacy.

Are you interested in learning more about 12 step recovery programs and how they work? If so, keep reading to have all of your most pressing questions answered.

What Are the 12 Steps of Recovery?

The first thing to know about a 12 step program is the 12 steps to recovery. They are as follows:

  • Admitting that you are powerless over alcohol or drugs
  • Beliving in a power greater than yourself that can restore you to health and sanity
  • Deciding to turn your life over to this power
  • Conducting a fearless moral inventory of yourself
  • Admitting the exact nature of your wrongs
  • Being ready to have a higher power remove these defects of character
  • Asking a higher power to remove your shortcomings
  • Making a list of persons you’ve harmed and being willing to make amends to them
  • Making direct amends when possible
  • Continuing to take personal inventory and promptly admitting when you’re wrong
  • Seek to improve conscious contact with a higher power through prayer and meditation
  • Having a spiritual awakening, which results from following these steps and practicing these principles in all of your affairs

When you participate in a 12 step program, you will attend meetings and talk through these different steps. You will also share your experiences with a group and listen to others as they share their own.

Pros and Cons of a 12 Step Recovery Program

There are benefits and drawbacks that come with attending a 12 step program to combat addiction. Here are some of the most noteworthy pros:

  • Community involvement
  • Sense of belonging
  • Destigmatizes addiction
  • Encourages personal responsibility
  • Encourages acceptance of drug/alcohol problems
  • Free programs
  • Meetings are available every day and at multiple times throughout the day

The following are some potential cons to choosing the type of program:

  • Social involvement can be intimidating to some
  • No medical advice or specific information on physical healing
  • Requires religious belief, which can be offputting to some
  • Fosters dependency on meetings
  • Meetings can take up a great deal of time

If the cons of 12 step programs seem to outweigh the pros for you, you may want to consider a non 12 step recovery program. There are lots of drug and alcohol recovery programs that don’t use the 12 step framework that can be equally effective.

Find a Recovery Program for You Today

Now that you know more about 12 step recovery programs, how they work, and their pros and cons, are you interested in trying one out for yourself? Whether you want to try the 12-step model or look into other drug recovery programs, there are plenty of options available to you.

To learn more about different approaches to combating addiction, check out some of the other resource son our site as well. This article on opioid addiction and medical cannabis is a great one to read next.





June Potter wrote this article on behalf of FreeUp. FreeUp is the fastest-growing freelance marketplace in the US. FreeUp only accepts the top 1% of freelance applicants. Click here to get access to the top freelancers in the world.  




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