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What are the 12 Steps?

The 12 Steps were created in 1939 Akron, Ohio, by recovering alcoholics Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob, an Akron surgeon. 12 Steps were initially used as a set of guiding principles for Alcoholics Anonymous – a now well-known group therapy treatment for those struggling with alcoholism – which they created four years earlier.

A 12 step program is a set of guiding principles, which include (but are not limited to) : admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion, recognizing a higher power that can give strength to examine past errors with help, making amends for these errors, learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior and, ultimately, help others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.

The 12 Steps Consist Of:

Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2 – Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3 – Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The 12 Step Program Treats Much More than Just Alcoholism

Since first being used as a goal-oriented system to help alcoholics become sober, the 12 Steps is used to treat an eclectic array of addictions and organizations that range from highly specific, such as Cocaine Anonymous, to rather general, such as Narcotics Anonymous.

Below is a small list of organizations, other than AA, officially associated with the original 12 Step Program:

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous, an offshoot of AA, was founded in 1953. NA, of course, is also a 12 Step Program that was initially exclusive, only offering The Steps to those who struggled with narcotics-related addictions. Today, however, NA is all-encompassing and offers 12 Step recovery to “anyone who is trying to overcome any type of drug or alcohol dependence.” – per their website.

According to recovery.com, NA’s mission statement reads:

The purpose of NA is to help those suffering from addiction through the process of recovery and to spread the message that recovery is possible.

The 12 Steps Have Been Used for Over 80 Years for a Reason

Despite being over 80 years old, the 12 Step Program is still used by the majority of rehab programs, today. ‘The Program’s’ longevity is virtually thanks to its undeniable effectiveness in treating addictions of all kinds.

But don’t take this article’s word for it. Science also believes in Bill W’s 80-year old rehabilitative principals:

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Twelve Step facilitation therapy is a tried-and-true proven approach.”

As the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Are The 12 Steps Associated with Any Type of Religion?

Despite what many people think, the 12 Step Program is not associated with religion whatsoever.

That being said, while The Steps may not be associated with any type of religion, the program, itself, is highly spiritual, even requiring one to believe in ‘something greater than themselves.’ In fact, six out of the twelve steps include the term ‘Higher Power,’ one of which, even specifies that an addicted person needs to “surrender themselves to said higher being.”

Does The 12 Step Program Work for Those Who Identify as an Atheist?

While unapologetically agnostic in its doctrine, experts generally agree that The Program can nonetheless be effective in treating non-religious people, or even those who consider themselves to be ideologically atheistic.

If a person does not “have a connection” with a higher power, or identify as an atheist, psychologist Alfred Adler famously said, “act as if.”

To act as if, Adler explained, means that “It only takes two people to make a meeting, and that is a power greater than yourself. Start there. If that’s as far as you get, it’s enough.”

Is There a Downside to the 12 Step Program?

By itself, the 12 Step Program is the most provenly effective form of outpatient that is used today. However, ‘The Steps,’ when followed outside of a rehabilitation center, do not address the crucial aspect of one’s mental health.

The somewhat glaring omission of mental health, namely, mental illness, from the 12 Steps (and its accompanying publications, such as The Big Book of AA) is a problematic one considering that many of those who struggle with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Like an addiction, mental illness is a disease of the mind. And, since it is typical for an addicted person to have at least one type of mental health disorder, any program that omits treatment for mental illness should automatically be disqualified as an option by those who seek treatment.

That being the case, it is important for any person actively seeking treatment for addiction to enroll in an inpatient facility that offers both licensed psychiatric care and 12 Step Programs, like At The Crossroads.

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please contact At The Crossroads by calling 866-439-0354. Our mission is to help every young adult from ~region~ get back on their feet lead successful and happy lives.

If your adult child or loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. While the journey is tough, rest assured, that recovery is possible, and there is hope.

At The Crossroads provides a warm and supportive transitional environment where these kids can find hope, help and healing. Please call the Admissions Specialist at 866-439-0354, we want to help.

At The Crossroads Offers The 12 Steps in its Substance Abuse Treatment

Since its humble beginnings in Akron 84 years ago, ‘The Steps’ is a curriculum has developed into an effective tool that most recovering young adults still use in terms of rehabilitation.

Like the common, albeit provenly true, saying goes, At The Crossroads “is not trying to reinvent the wheel,” rather, our clinical staff utilizes a time-proven tool.

More specifically, we incorporate The 12 Steps Program in our own provenly effective, cutting edge transitional living program’s core curriculum.

Why do we use the 12 Step Program?

To put it simply, in addition to its proven effectiveness, we appreciate the core values of ‘The Steps’ and instill them in our effective treatment program for addicted young men and women between the ages of 18 to 25.

Our Treatment

Along with 12 Step treatment, life skills coaching, healthy living skills and support, we provide complete therapeutic treatment for both addicts and non-addicts who are in need of assistance with transitioning into adulthood.

Our treatment programs are designed to help develop healthy relationship skills between students, parents and other family members. These skills are necessary to forge forward toward independence. It is important for parents of struggling adult children to understand, you are not alone. We have an excellent track record among parents and troubled young adults and have assisted thousands in living an independent and successful lifestyle.


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