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12-Step Treatment Program

The 12-Step Treatment Program is an effective option for those seeking help with addiction. Addiction can have devastating consequences for those caught in its cycle. If you’re suffering from addiction, Banner Health’s experienced, compassionate mental health care team can help you overcome triggers, learn new ways to cope and begin your recovery journey.

Each Banner Health patient receives an individual treatment plan to ensure they get the right care for their specific needs. We work with you to set goals, build skills and manage challenges throughout your treatment.

We offer many types of behavioral health therapy, community resources and support groups, including 12-step programs, to help patients understand the role of addiction in their life. If you or a loved one needs help, start by calling Banner Health’s Appointment Line at (602) 254-4357.

To find free, confidential referral and information for substance abuse and mental health treatment, you can call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

What Is a 12-Step Program?

A 12-step program is a peer-based mutual help program for alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictive and dysfunctional behaviors. The steps are guiding principles that outline how to overcome addiction, avoid triggers and live a healthy, productive life.

The group provides an anonymous, safe and supportive environment to share knowledge, build bonds and maintain sobriety with others in similar situations. It’s led by a member of the program, often someone who has been in recovery for a significant time.

Members encourage one another to share their feelings and experiences with addiction as they work through each step of the program. The goal is to help members experience a “spiritual awakening” or make the personal change needed to overcome addiction.

Programs can differ but some common steps in the 12-step process include:

  • Admitting you are not in control your addiction
  • Recognizing a higher power can give strength
  • Examining past mistakes
  • Making amends
  • Living a new way of life
  • Helping others

While 12-step programs are based in spiritual principles, the language of God as a “higher power” emphasizes how each member recognizes it, allowing for different interpretations and beliefs. While some members do believe in a traditional God, others believe in karma, earth, science, mother nature, the universe, humanity at large or even their recovery fellowship as a healing power.

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What  is the 12 Step Program for Recovery?

The following is an example of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. Admit powerlessness: Admit we are powerless over alcohol, that our lives have become unmanageable.
  2. Find hope: Believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Surrender: Decide to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him to be.
  4. Take inventory: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Share inventory: Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human beings the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Become ready: We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Ask God: Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. List amends: Make a list of all those we have harmed and make amends to them all.
  9. Make amends: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continue inventory: Take a personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Pray and meditate: Through prayer and meditation, we improve our conscious and connect with God. We do this to understand Him, praying only for His knowledge to give us the power to carry that out.
  12. Help others: Having a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles.

What Types of 12-Step Programs Are Available for Recovery?

There are many 12-step treatment programs available for various addictions and compulsive behaviors, including:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, drug and substance abuse
  • Behavioral issues such as compulsions for food, sex, hoarding, gambling, debt, work, etc.
  • Mental and behavioral health disorders such as anxiety, depression, codependency, etc.

Additionally, there are 12-step programs available to those who have been affected by an addict’s behaviors, such as family and friends.

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Who Would Benefit from a 12-Step Program?

Anyone motivated to recover and maintain sobriety can benefit from a 12-step program. If you regularly attend, participate and engage in meetings, you’re more likely to experience success with the program. Staying involved with a 12-step group on a long-term basis helps ensure the program works for you.

What Can I Expect During a 12-Step Program?

For people in early stages of recovery, you may need to attend multiple meetings per week. As you progress through your recovery, how often you attend may change.

While each group is different, a member of the group leads participants through the following during a meeting:

  • Opening prayer
  • Introductions with members acknowledging their problems with addiction
  • Reading from the group’s literature, the 12 steps or other program elements
  • Discussion about a topic, speaker or book
  • Sharing of stories, experiences or challenges
  • Closing meditation or prayer

Sharing during a meeting is voluntary. Participants are not allowed to give advice or discuss what a member shares outside of the group.

How Long Does a 12-Step Program Take to Complete?

People attending a 12-step meeting are in all stages of sobriety – some only a few days, others many years. The program is designed to be a continuous and repetitive process to help strengthen recovery. Many people continue participating in meetings once they finish the steps because it helps them stay focused on sobriety.

Who Would be Part of My 12-Step Program?

The 12-step program uses a peer-based, mutual help model. There are no health care professionals leading or overseeing the group. Members support, encourage and learn from one another.

Additionally, each member has a sponsor – someone who supports sobriety and guides the member through the 12 steps. The sponsor offers one-on-one recovery support separately from group meetings. Sponsors are not medical professionals. Usually, they’re recovering addicts themselves.

Why Does a 12-Step Treatment Program Work?

12-step programs provide peer support, encouragement and accountability for people who want to overcome addiction. Through sponsorship and meetings, members get social support to help them stay clean.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people with alcoholism who receive formal treatment and participate in AA have a better chance of staying sober, compared to those who only receive formal treatment.