The Effectiveness Of 12-Step Programs

The 12-Step Program originated with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which was founded in 1938. It was originally established to treat alcoholics but today the 12-Step Program is used by other groups to treat addiction to drugs, gambling, food, sex and more. The 12-Step Program treats the addict holistically in body, mind and spirit. There is great emphasis on the spiritual aspects of an addict’s life, and this is where they gain their strength and direction. Learn more about the effectiveness of 12-step programs by first learning what the 12 steps are

The 12 Steps of the Program are:

  1. Admit Powerlessness; the addict admits that they have no power over their addiction and that their life has become unmanageable.
  2. Find Hope; the addict has come to believe that there is a Power greater than them self that can restore their sanity.
  3. Surrender; the addict has decided to turn his life over to the care of God as he knows him.
  4. Take Inventory; the addict makes a thorough moral inventory of himself.
  5. Share My Inventory; the addict admits to himself, God and another human being the exact nature of his wrongs.
  6. Become Ready; the addict is ready to allow God to remove all defects of character from him.
  7. Ask God; the addict humbly asks God to remove his shortcomings.
  8. Make A List Of Amends; the addict makes a list of all people he has harmed and is willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Make Amends; the addict makes direct amends to the people he has harmed, except when the amends would injure them or others.
  10. Continue My Inventory; the addict continues to take personal inventory and promptly admits when he is wrong.
  11. Pray And Meditate; the addict seeks to improve his conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation, and seeks only the knowledge of God’s Will for his life and the power to carry it out.
  12. Help Others; the addict had a spiritual awakening as a result of following the 12-Steps, tries to carry this message to other addicts and practices these principles in all his affairs.

The 12-Step Program addresses the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual areas of an addict’s life. The addict will first deal with his substance abuse and lack of self-control over it, regardless of the consequences. The addiction takes root in compulsive behavior, which is based on an emotional obsession to use and an inability to control or stop these impulses. The lack of spiritual fulfillment in the addict’s life is based upon the addict’s self-centeredness; much like a child who only wants to eat candy. The addict now begins to develop a moral consciousness and a willingness to deny the self and take constructive action. The 12-Steps allow the addict to develop self-awareness and delve deep into their thought life and emotional issues. By allowing God to lead them and give them the power they need to continue on the path, the addict eventually overcomes his addiction.

The 12-Step Program helps the addict through their sponsorship program. A sponsor is someone who has completed the 12-Step Program and is now ready to guide a beginner through the process. Sponsorship is a one-on-one relationship that is focused on working out the 12 Steps. Sponsors share their testimony of experience, strength and hope with the new member of the group, and both will participate in activities that lead to spiritual growth.

The effectiveness of the 12-Step Program is not based on scientific or psychological studies but rather on the testimonies of the members themselves. The continued success of the Program is based on the fact that it is effective in treating addiction. Project MATCH is the largest and most widely quoted research study on the 12-Step Program. It reports that the 12-Step Program is grounded in the concept that addiction is a disease of the body, mind and spirit, and that lifelong abstinence is the only sane treatment for addiction. Anyone who wishes to become sober and sane should join a 12-Step Program.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.