12 Step Substance Abuse Recovery Program - Detox To Rehab

12 Step Substance Abuse Recovery Program

Start Working the Steps Toward Your Recovery

The 12 Step Approach to Drug Treatment

E Every 12 Step based fellowship is rooted on the foundation that was laid down by the founders of the Alcohol Anonymous (AA) program. Many public and private substance abuse treatment centers use the 12 Step methodology for treatment because of the high success rate. There are many different substances that are abused on a daily basis, so it should be no surprise that there are many different 12 Step programs. Some of these anonymous programs deal with the struggles with Alcoholism. There are other 12 step programs that revolve around Narcotic addictions in general such as Cociane, Crystal Meth, Heroin, and Prescription Pills. The recovery of the client is always the key focus and determining the right type of treatment that the client is comfortable with is the beginning process of any tailor made treatment plan.

When developing the 12 Step method of treatment, these programs play an important role in the design and implementation in a couple ways. First, the philosophy, methodology, and materials are integrated into the treatment activities. Secondly, a relationship between the client and the treatment facility is established to provide a treatment plan that is in the client’s best interest.

T The 12 Steps were developed by the founders of AA organization with the goal of achieving a sober lifestyle free from substance abuse. In anonymous programs, recovery is sustained by applying the 12 Step philosophy to the person lifestyle and by sharing their experiences, struggles, and opinions with others who have experience similar problems. This builds a community of support that establishes a connection free of prejudice and judgment. Many clients who are involved in this method of treatment will find another member who will aid as a sponsor. The sponsor acts as a guide in their sobriety and helps in times of crisis when temptations or triggers become overwhelming.

This approach of sharing and establishing a group support system has become a foundation for various self-help programs like Al-Anon (for families and friends of the alcoholic) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) . The 12-Step approach of creating a treatment plan is structured and includes detoxification, psychological evaluation by professionals, individualized treatment and progress monitoring, group meetings and activities, attend lectures to educate, and counseling.  When needed, professionals can provide referrals to psychiatric, medical, and social services.


Outpatient Klonopin Rehab


E Establishing a strong support system with the sober community is important for maintaining a sober lifestyle. Newcomers will be given a list of phone numbers to call in their dire need when their will is tested or cravings become near unbearable. To help maintain sobriety after treatment, a sponsor or sober companion can be chosen by the recovering addict to provide the help they need to get through the 12 Steps and be there in difficult times.

A sponsor is a more experienced member of the group who has completed their 12 Steps and has a healthy track record of sobriety. This person will guide others in their drug free lifestyle and can be called in times of need. Newcomers are highly encourage to reach out to someone who is interested in being a sponsor.

Securing a relationship is key and developing a bond of trust is also vital. However, the sponsor to sponsee bond is not considered a friendship, as the sponsors role is clearly a guide to a healthy lifestyle, support during tough moments, and a mentor for working the steps.

Sponsors and sponsees engage in activities like discussions, 12 Step studies, attend meetings together, meditation  and focusing on completing the 12 steps. Sponsors provide a sense of guidance through each step as some steps could cause enough stress to trigger a relapse. Having the sponsor there for support fortifies the sponsee’s recovery and helps develop positive coping mechanisms for dealing with cravings.

This one on one relationship has increased the success rate of long term recovery and is very important in the 12 Step Program for all of  the different fellowships.

Having a Relapse Plan

Life is filled with temptations, an old friend drops by and has a bag or Cocaine. Or maybe a family reunion BBQ puts you in a situation where you want to get hammered with your brother. These things can and will happen.

For a recovering addict, thinking about relapse can cause a relapse. But it is really important to have an emergency relapse plan in mind when a moment of weakness occurs. Before you leave your rehabilitation center consult your therapist about constructing a relapse plan.

  • Have a list of phone numbers that you can call during your struggle.
  • Know where the nearest hospital is located in case of health complications.
  • Prepare a list of meeting locations if you need to attend a meeting during the cravings.
  • Reach out to your sponsor.
  • Contact a family member if you need to stay with someone for the night.
The 12 Steps

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (our addiction)--that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. We continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. We 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 (addicts) and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Newcomers will be given a list of phone numbers to call in their dire need when their will is tested or cravings become near unbearable.

12 Step Meeting Overview

M Meetings are attended for various reasons. For some individuals, meetings are attended in a response to a temptation, trigger, or craving to use or abuse a drug. For others, meetings are attended for those who are ‘working the steps’. Meetings are considered the fellowship portion of the program, where people in recovery gather and talk about things that are pertinent to recovery. The anonymous programs are inside either the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous or the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text. The 12 Steps are in a specific order, so the recovering addict does not become overwhelmed in completing these steps or rush through them. It is important for the person working the steps to take their time and work each step as thoroughly and honestly as possible. After going through the first 11 of the steps, you will come to the 12th step here you are able to take someone else who was struggling like you were, through their steps.

The proceedings of these meetings do not have a rigid structure, but are more flexible to suit the recovering addict’s needs. Sometimes, benchmarks of sobriety are announced or celebrated. For many, staying sober for 24 hours is a huge achievement and is recognized and celebrated. If a member has been sober for a longer period of time, this can be celebrated as well. Chips, coin shaped tokens or key tags are given to indicate milestones of sobriety as an achievement for their hard work and dedication. This is a general overview of what happens at a 12 Step meeting.

Moments of silence:
Meetings will open with a moment of silence for those who are still suffering in their disease or who are struggling in their recovery. This moment of silence was taken for every person who is in attendance at some point. Many people die every day not knowing that there is a different way of life. This moment is followed by the:

Serenity Prayer:
Every 12 Step fellowship is a spiritually based program, they are by no means a religious program. When people are involved in a 12 Step program it is suggest that people find a Higher Power of their own understanding. The serenity prayer helps open the meeting by establishing a connection with a Higher Power of everyone’s understanding.

Read the 12 Step literature:
Each meeting is started by reading specific readings from each fellowship, these reading vary from fellowship to fellowship but all usually include reading the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions. It is important to devote the beginning of each meeting to reading literature to help embrace the program and it helps any newcomers get acquainted with the steps and the fellowship they are in.

Meeting Types:
There are many different format types for meetings. Some of these are speaker, speaker topic, topic, book study, step study, open, closed, discussion, men’s, women’s, young people, LBGT, new comers, or other literature meetings. All this information is stated when the meeting opens.

Speakers and Sharing:
During this portion of the meeting, depending on the type, people will share their experience on the topic of discussion. Typically sharing is limited to 3 to 5 minutes so others have a chance to share. Here people are able to talk about where they are in recovery, if they are struggling or whatever maybe going on in their life. It is also where people are able to hear the message of hope from people who have fallen on hard times and still made it through with their recovery intact. This portion makes up the majority of the meeting.

Burning Desire:
Before the meeting closes the person who is chairing the meeting will ask if anyone has a burning desire. A burning desire can be the urge to use, to hurt yourself or to hurt someone else. It helps to share those feelings in the meeting to take some of the power away from them.

Meeting Closure:
At the end of the meeting there will be another moment of silence signifying respect for those who are still suffering with addiction, or are suffering in their recovery. Following the moment of silence the meeting closes with a prayer.

12 Step Programs

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Cocaine Anonymous (CA)

Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)

Heroin Anonymous (HA)

Pills Anonymous (PA)

The 12 Traditions

The Traditions are to the fellowship what the steps are to the individual.

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on AA (NA, CA, CMA, HA, PA) 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 membership is a desire to stop drinking. (using)

4. Each Group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting other Groups, or AA (NA...), as a whole.

5. Each Group has but one primary purpose--to carry the message to the alcoholic (addict) who still suffers.

6. An AA (NA...) Group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA (NA etc) name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every AA (NA...) Group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Alcoholics Anonymous (NA...) should remain forever nonprofessional, but our Service Centers may employ special workers.

9. AA (NA...), as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. AA (NA...) has no opinion on outside issues; hence, the AA (NA...) 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.


Neukrug, E. (2011). Counseling theory and practice. Australia: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment of Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 32.) Chapter 4—Twelve-Step-Based Programs. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64351/