The Twelve Steps, originated by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is a spiritual basis for personal recovery from the effects of alcoholism, both for the person who consumes alcohol and for their friends and family in Al-Anon family groups.
The 12 Stepsare a set of principles developed to help people struggling with addiction change their beliefs. Together, they act as a framework for sustainable recovery. In addition, 12-step communities of all kinds help provide the support and responsibility that many recovering addicts crave.
The purpose is to recover from compulsive and out-of-control behaviors and restore manageability and order in your life. It's a way of seeing that your behavior is just a symptom, a kind of engine control light to find out what's really going on under the hood. The Twelve Steps are described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. They can be found at the beginning of the chapter “How it works.
The essays on the steps can be read in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. While it is true that the 12 steps were originally based on the principles of a spiritual organization, the world is not the same as it was in 1935 when AA and the 12-step program were founded. At a minimum, you can try to attend a free 12-step meeting on your own to see if it might be the right fit. In addition to knowing rehabilitation centers, it may be useful to know what these steps are so that you can support them.
For those suffering from substance use disorders and concurrent mental health conditions, 12-step programs also proved to be extremely effective in a New York City study. If you're wondering if a 12-step program is right for you, discuss this with your therapist, doctor, or other medical professional. Several self-help groups have adopted variations of AA's Twelve Steps program to address different types of addictions or compulsive behaviors. The 12 Traditions speak to the members of Alcoholics Anonymous as a group, unlike the 12 Steps, which focus on the individual.
As explained in the historical information from the AA site itself, the steps developed through the synthesis of concepts from some other teachings I had encountered, including a six-step program adopted by an organization called the Oxford Group. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and addiction counselors often recommend participating in Twelve Step groups as a form of aftercare following inpatient or outpatient treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. There are many 12-step programs for a variety of addictions and compulsive behaviors, ranging from Cocaine Anonymous to Debtors Anonymous, all with the same 12-step methods. While the previous step may have raised questions about impotence in the face of addiction, the Second Step aims to show you a way forward.
Whether you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder (commonly known as drug or alcohol addiction, alcoholism, or substance abuse), Twelve Step recovery programs could be an effective source of help and support. Due to the anonymity of the program and the lack of formal research available, it's hard to say how effective the 12-step model is. As stated above, and as demonstrated by the steps themselves, the 12-step model originated from a Christian point of view. This acts as an extension of Step Three and Step Six, since you now know details about their weaknesses.