Inpatient vs Outpatient

12-Step Programs

A 12-step program is a term which is used to refer to a number of different groups designed to facilitate recovery from the addiction. The 12 steps are guidelines or principles which are followed by the addicts to regain sobriety. These 12 steps were originally proposed by the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous which served as a method for recovery from alcoholism. 12-step program proved to be a great success which helped hundreds of people get sober. Due to its popularity, many other support groups also adopted the 12 steps and modified them as per their needs.

Currently, there are many 12-step programs helping the addicts recover from a number of addictions including:

  • Narcotics anonymous
  • Cocaine anonymous
  • Debtors anonymous
  • Crystal meth anonymous
  • Marijuana anonymous
  • Nicotine anonymous
  • Nar-Anon support group

All these groups use 12-step programs to deal with compulsion and addiction among other behavioral problems. Annually, more than 5 million people participate in 12-step programs to recover from addictions and other psychological disorders.

12-step programs are based on spirituality and religion and are often criticized for being non-medical and non-realistic. However, even many non-religious people have found them helpful in their treatment.

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Alcoholics Anonymous offers free treatment to the people suffering from alcoholism who are willing to make a recovery. The original 12 steps introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous that helped hundreds of people recover are:


  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


These steps are based on the realization that the addict is helpless once the addiction develops so the addict seeks help from a higher powder.

The 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous:

The 12 traditions of Alcoholic Anonymous are basically guidelines for the dealings between 12-step groups, group members and other groups. Like 12 steps, these were also proposed by the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.


These 12 traditions are:


  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Do 12 steps programs really work?

Since the groups applying these steps are anonymous and there has not been a proper research on this topic, not any official figures are available. However, thousands of people from all over the world have claimed recovering using the program which contributed towards its popularity. Even non-religious people have regarded the plan as helpful.


Different treatments work for different people and for some, 12 step program offers the support they need. The regular meeting of group members encourages healing process. They help each other stay determined. They also learn healthy coping techniques and relapse prevention techniques from their fellows.


There are hundreds of Alcoholics Anonymous and other addiction recovery groups located nationwide. Addiction Rehab Centers aim to help you locate the one that would work for you. Call us today to help you find the right group.