What About 12-Step Rehabs?
What is 12-Step Rehab?
Per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) 2013 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, 12-Step programs (aka Alcoholics Anonymous or AA) are used by approximately 74% of treatment centers. 12 Step programs are designed to have people help one another achieve and maintain abstinence from substances abuse. The core component of 12 Steps is that the participant must acknowledge and surrender to a higher power to achieve sobriety.
The 12-Step Model
The basic tenet of a 12-Step model is that people can help each other realize and maintain abstinence from the behaviors or substances to which they are addicted. Individuals can do this through meetings where they share their experiences and support each other in the ongoing effort of maintaining sobriety.
In research, as detailed in an article from the journal Addiction Research and Theory, abstinence behaviors (supported by 12-Step programs) can12-step rehabs account for high levels of what addiction experts call flourishing, which is positive mental health contributing to longer-term recovery. In the report, those who maintained sobriety were more likely to flourish over the long-term, with 40.7% flourishing after three months (as compared to 9.3% languishing) and nearly 40% flourishing after 12 months (compared to 12.4% languishing). Based on this report, those who abstain altogether from substances – as recommended in the 12-Step model – have better clinical mental health outcomes than those who do not abstain.”
As described on Psych Central: Recovery Using the 12 Steps, “following the model assists an individual by helping build these mental and emotional transformative tools and practices:
- The capability to recognize and admit that one is experiencing an addiction problem
- Surrender to the idea that the addiction exists and decide to seek control through a higher power
- Self-observation and awareness of the behaviors that manifested from the addiction, as well as those that help promote sobriety
- An opportunity to practice new behaviors and build self-esteem in one’s positive abilities
- Achievement of self-acceptance and the capability to change behaviors
- Show compassion for those who have been affected by addiction and for others who struggle with addiction
- Behaviors that support learning and growth throughout the individual’s life
The 12 Step model is shown to help those who can follow its tenets and work with peers to achieve sobriety.
“Most addiction experts agree that an evidence-based treatment program, customized to the individual’s needs, is the most effective method to achieve and maintain sobriety. Whether this program includes the 12-Steps, is based on the 12-Step model, or is an alternative to this model of addiction treatment, it is important that care is individualized.”
The 12 Steps, from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), are:
- Admitting powerlessness over the addiction and that life had become unmanageable
- Believing that a higher power (in any form) can help us
- Deciding to turn control over to the higher power
- Taking a personal inventory
- Admitting to the higher power, to oneself, and another person the wrongs done
- Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character
- Asking your higher power to remove these shortcomings
- Making a list of wrongs done to other people and being willing to make amends for the wrongs
- Getting in touch with those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the individual
- Continually taking personal inventory and admitting when you are wrong
- Seeking connection and enlightenment with the higher power via prayer and meditation
- Spreading the message of the 12 Steps to others in need
- In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous, there are Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Heroin Anonymous (HA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and other 12-step-based meetings in most areas of the country.
- Alternatives to the 12-Step Program
Many individuals have difficulty with the 12-Step model, even with the variations or through groups that facilitate the 12-Step model. Some 12-step rehab alternatives resist basing recovery on the concept that they cannot control their addiction when there is evidence that there are methods of practicing control over the recovery process. There are programs based on this active control model. They include groups like SMART Recovery and Moderation Management. These groups use a peer-sharing model, but they do not rely on the belief of surrender. Instead, they promote the empowerment of the individual to exercise control over treatment and recovery from addiction.
Determine if 12-Step Rehab is Right for You
If you want to learn about 12-Step rehabs, or addiction treatment in general, contact us today. Our professional staff is equipped to facilitate assessment, treatment planning, and clinical recommendations. Call us at 203-293-1723 today.