12 step treatment programs are a set of guiding principles that outline a specific course of action for overcoming addiction to drugs or alcohol. The original 12 step programs were proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939 as a way to help people recover from alcoholism. Since that time, the steps have been adapted to form the foundation for other types of twelve-step programs.
For many people, the faith-based treatment model of 12 step treatment programs plays a positive role in recovery from addiction. Throughout the process of following the steps, people in recovery are intended to learn of ways to replace self-centered behaviors by developing a moral conscience, and learning to take unselfish constructive action to overcome addictive behaviors. Within the twelve-step groups, such moral development is considered a spiritual awakening.
A person who is new to group meetings will often be guided and supported by a more experienced person in recovery, known as a sponsor. The sponsor shares their recovery experiences with the new member, or sponsee, along with providing support whenever the sponsee feels particularly vulnerable to cravings or on the brink of relapse. New members are encouraged to build a level of rapport with at least one sponsor.
12 step treatment programs strive to achieve three legacies:
In the time since the original steps were published by Alcoholics Anonymous, the guiding principles have been amended to be suitable to treat a range of other addictive behaviors.
People in recovery from addiction are encouraged to commit to attending 12-step treatment program meetings regularly, even after graduating rehab treatments. Long-term involvement in group meetings can improve the success rate of recovery for many people for a variety of reasons. Group meetings help recovering addicts to develop new social networks of like minded peers, which reduces feelings of isolation and can boost motivation to continue living a sober life.
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