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What Is a 12-Step Program?


For more than 80 years, 12-step programs have been invaluable in helping addicts maintain sobriety and fight addiction. Many people who would otherwise relapse have stayed clean because of the help these programs provide, and these programs have also assisted countless friends and family members of addicts to deal effectively with the fallout from addiction. Used in conjunction with high-quality detox and counseling options, the twelve steps followed in these recovery programs have been proven effective in providing lasting help for addicts. Understanding the place, benefits, and limitations of these programs will help you or someone you love effectively deal with an addiction.

The Basics of the 12 Steps

Each 12 step program has its own unique features, but the 12 steps and traditions found in each type of program follow the same rough outline. The steps involve elements such as admitting that an addiction is present and that one cannot deal with it on their own. The 12 steps also include reliance on a higher power, usually referred to as God. This admission of dependency on something outside of the self makes it easier to follow the other steps of turning to a support group and a sponsor who can help when one feels tempted to indulge in the addictive substance. The 12 steps of recovery also call for addicts to deal with the harm their addiction has caused to other people. This is essential for lasting recovery, as repairing relationships with friends and family creates new resources on which the recovering addict can rely to maintain sobriety.

Types of 12-Step Programs

Perhaps you are asking the question, “Are there 12-step programs near me?” The answer is almost certainly yes; it just depends on the type of program you are looking for. Alcoholics Anonymous is perhaps the best-known 12-step program, and it focuses on helping members address alcohol addiction. Narcotics Anonymous focuses on helping those addicted to other drugs. There are also 12-step programs that assist people who overeat or who are addicted to sex.

12-Step Program Limits

Although 12-step programs are effective in providing support for maintaining sobriety, they are no replacement for customized rehabilitation programs. Twelve-step programs cannot provide the medically supervised detox that many addicts require if they are to have any hope of lasting recovery. They also are unable to detect and address all of the underlying issues that contribute to an addiction. That is why WhiteSands Treatment Center recommends 12-step programs as a supplement to professional treatment in our facility. If you are asking the question, “Is there a 12-step program near me?” you may not be ready for that option, as it won’t provide the level of care of our dual-diagnosis treatment programs. Call us or fill out the contact form today and we will provide you with cost-effective treatment and help you identify a 12-step program as part of your after-treatment support plan.

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