12 Step Programs For Addiction Recovery

The 12 Steps were created in 1939 order to establish guidelines for the best way to overcome alcohol addiction. There are now many of 12 Step recovery programs, in addition to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), that address a variety of addictive behaviors Alternative 12 Step Groups include: Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Codependents Anonymous (CODA), Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), Debtors Anonymous (DA), Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Heroine Anonymous (HA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Overeaters Anonymous (OA), Pills Anonymous (PA), Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).

12-Step programs give people who struggle with addiction a tangible process to understand and manage their substance use disorder. They provide a roadmap for addiction treatment. Moreover, they provide individuals with a recovery support network, also known as a “Fellowship”, by which they are able to receive support from others who are dealing with the same struggles. The idea behind peer-support addiction is that you feel stronger when you belong to a group of people who are doing the same thing.

12 Step programs encourage individuals to choose a Sponsor—someone you call when you need emotional support or feel threatened by a relapse. Sponsorship involves one recovering addict walking another recovering addict through the Steps in order to help them stay sober. While it is true that not everyone needs a sponsor, most recovering addicts benefit from giving sponsorship a try.

Alcoholics Anonymous defines the the 12 Steps as:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
  8. Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The 12 Traditions speak to the members of Alcoholics Anonymous as a group, unlike the steps, which are focused on the individual. Here are the 12 traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose–to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

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