What Are 12-Step Groups and Are They a Good Fit for You?

Originally developed by two recovering alcoholics in 1935, the 12-step program is popular among contemporary recovery and addiction groups throughout the United States and around the world.

The program, which began with Alcoholics Anonymous, sought to follow strict guidelines of psychological techniques to suppress certain personality traits and behaviors. The program soon began spreading across the United States, becoming the de facto framework for how other groups would operate in the space of addiction and recovery. If you’re one of the millions of people with addictions in the United States, you may be wondering how a 12-step program could help you.

The framework

Many 12-step programs have ankara escort chapters that are local to a town or city, meaning only residents of that area can join. This also helps foster a better sense of community since most people live within just miles of one another.

The local nature of these groups also means that people have fewer excuses not to attend, and members can hold one another accountable for their presence or absence. Aside from that, most 12-step programs are loose-knit and have a few simple rules. Everyone deserves to be anonymous, the meetings don’t involve the police, and members do not need to pay dues. If anyone thinks they may have a substance abuse problem, then they qualify to join, it’s that simple.

Yet, 12-step programs are not exclusive to recovering alcoholics, but instead all forms of addiction recovery. Currently, there are roughly more than 30 different addictions, from drug use to working too much, that have recovery groups and members.

Are 12-step programs a good fit for you?

Most of the time, the answer is yes, recovery groups might be a good fit. If you’re suffering from any kind of addiction, whether it’s substance-related or not, there may be a group for you.

Even if you’ve already completed treatment for alcohol abusers or are just getting started, it’s a good idea to also check out a 12-step program. You won’t need to sign up or pay dues, and your identity will remain anonymous.

It can be good to become familiar with the 12-step program culture and structure to make sure it’s right for you. So, what exactly can you expect when joining a 12-step program?



Admitting something is one of the first and most important steps a 12-step program will require from you. Don’t worry, you don’t have to admit any crimes or anything that could damage your reputation.

Rather, you’ll need to admit in front of a group that you are an addict and are powerless (at that moment) to an addiction. Keep in mind that you’ll do this in a group setting that may range from a few others to several dozen if the group is in a larger area.



Another large part of the original 12-step plan is having faith in a higher power. It doesn’t matter what the higher power is. The important part is believing in something greater than yourself.

Although not everyone does, you could place your faith in the group. Just remember that you’ll be asked to believe in a higher power.



Surrendering is a step that’s connected to the higher power step. If you admit to believing in a higher power (again, any kind of higher power), you will be asked to surrender yourself to that higher power.

For this step, you don’t have to participate in a drawn-out ceremony or make an elaborate confession to surrender. Instead, you’ll be asked to surrender privately and on your own accord. Even if you aren’t religious or spiritual, this act alone may help you surrender negative feelings and help you break free from addiction.


Soul searching

Soul searching isn’t one individual step. Instead, it’s a process that continues throughout a recovery program. It asks you to take time and reflect upon your past actions and the lessons you’ve learned.



A step that relates to integrity can be difficult. This step calls for you to admit your addiction to your higher power and the members of your group. The admission can demonstrate that you’re strong enough in your convictions that you can admit your addiction and break free from it.



Acceptance is a step that’s more than acceptance of your addiction. It also allows yourself to fully accept how your life needs to change. This step requires you to come to terms with your faults and end them.



Again referring to a higher power, the humility-related step requires you to ask that power to do something that you can’t. It asks you to trust that things will work out for the better.



In this step, you will be asked to make a list of those your addiction has harmed. Your program will ask if you’re willing to help these people and make amends for what you’ve done.



From the list you’ve created, you will be asked to ask forgiveness from those people and then seek forgiveness for yourself.



Once you’ve reached this stage, you’ll then be asked to maintain spiritual recovery. This means staying current with practices and groups that keep you away from addiction.


Making contact

Referring back to the higher power, you’ll be asked to make contact with your higher power to determine what it has in store for you.



Although a 12-step program never really ends, the final step asks you to carry out what you’ve learned throughout the rest of your life and to carry that message to other recovering addicts.




history.com – Alcoholics Anonymous Founded

samhsa.gov – 2017 NSDUH Annual National Report

curlie.org – Support Groups

12step.org – The 12 Steps in a Generic Form


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