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What is a 12 Step Program?

The benefits and effectiveness of 12 step programs are known to millions across the nation and around the world. For more than 80 years, the basic elements of the 12 step philosophy have helped millions find and maintain lasting sobriety. Although the original 12 steps focused on helping those with alcohol use disorders get sober, today’s 12 step programs apply to addictions of all kinds.

What is a 12 Step Program?

The original 12 steps, created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous decades ago, set forth a set of guidelines for the most effective way to overcome alcohol addiction. The original 12 steps relied heavily on spiritual guidance and principles, although one does not need to be heavily spiritual to fund success following the process and guidance of the program.

12-step programs are a method that allows recovering addicts to find and rely on the fellowship and support of others throughout all stages of their recovery journey. The basic idea of the original 12 step program (and today’s modern program) is that someone looking to heal from the struggles of addiction can help themselves (and others) overcome behavioral and substances addictions by supporting one another and seeking the support of a “higher power” throughout their recovery.

How are 12 Step Programs Used in Recovery?

12 step programs are an essential component of many rehab programs. The 12 steps also complement aftercare programs by providing an element of peer support and ongoing structure. In the early stages of recovery, 12-step programs help develop a sense of community by bringing together a group of like-minded and supportive peers who share similar struggles with addiction.

Participating in a 12-step program helps remove the sense of isolation and worry many newly recovered addicts feel in the first days after treatment. As part of a 12-step group, you develop a group of peers (some of whom have experienced relapse) who are there to support and guide you through the most challenging days of recovery. Often, these sober peers will remain a source of friendship and support for years to come.

What are the 12 Steps?

Today, not all 12 step programs follow the same format. Some closely adhere to the traditional 12 steps, while others may not remain as dedicated to the original AA steps. While the steps for some programs may follow different order or wording, the original 12 steps remain popular among many groups.

The original 12 steps set forth by the program founders help addicts progress towards long-term sobriety. Members can revisit or repeat any step at any time. The 12-steps as taken from the AA manual are:

  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 all 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.

How to Find 12 Step Programs Near Me

To learn more about 12 step programs near you, contact us at Relevance Recovery today. A member of our admissions team can provide information about how we integrate the 12 steps into our recovery and New Jersey aftercare programs and other therapy models offered at our New Jersey rehab center.

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