Questions About 12-Step Programs?

Q & AMany addicts, if not most, can’t afford formal treatment in a rehab facility or don’t have health insurance that covers it. 12-Step programs are their primary alternative (although there are support groups for addiction that don’t follow the 12-Step model).

Even alcoholics and addicts who are fortunate enough to attend in- or -out-patient treatment are instructed that rehab is but a crash course in sobriety. If they want to stay sober they’re urged to actively participate in one or more 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous or Marijuana Anonymous.

The optimal way to learn about the 12-Step program is by: attending a variety of types of meetings regularly; reading the literature, particularly what’s commonly called The Big Book (though its official title is, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism), and The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (often referred to as the 12 by 12); and by working with a sponsor. The following articles don’t attempt to explain the Steps in detail, but rather to demystify them. (For more on the program, click on Tools of Sobriety.)

The Steps are not only a blueprint for staying sober. Ultimately, they’re instructions for living life as a whole human being. They aren’t a religion. Rather, they consist of universal spiritual principles: tell the truth; treat others as you’d want to be treated; monitor your inevitable failures, apologize for them and make things right if you can do so without hurting others; and help others in need.

To see a copy of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous click here.

For the next article in this series click on What’s the 12-Step Model For Recovery?

The other articles in this series are:

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