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12 Step Rehab

The 12 Steps originated from a popular religious movement in the early 1930's called the Oxford Group, whose members were involved in self-betterment activities which included admitting wrongness and taking responsibility for transgressions against others, making amends for such things, praying and other religious activities all done in an effort to better oneself and carry this message to others who could in turn better their own lives as a continuous cycle of self-betterment. This evolved into what is now known today as Alcoholics Anonymous or "AA" which was established to help alcoholics have a more promising answer for their addiction and a way to help others, which would in turn foster a spiritual experience to help alcoholics find more meaning in their efforts to remain sober. The 12 Steps that AA uses as their map to recovery for alcoholics has been adopted by many other programs and movements, some of which alter the 12-steps slightly to conform to their particular sense of belief or mode of treatment. The 12-steps as published by AA 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 all 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.

Most people are familiar with the 12-step style of recovery because there are so many programs using this as the foundation of their program. AA and the like who use the 12 Steps have been doing so for decades and this is the treatment model that most substance abusers are familiar with. The 12 Steps have been applied to much more than just alcohol addiction and alcoholism, with programs using the Steps to treat any kind of drug addiction, eating disorder, gambling addiction, etc. It is a universal solution and many addicted individuals have found solace in the 12-Steps and used them as a means to help themselves experience a physical, mental and spiritual recovery and eventually helping others in the process. In programs which tweak the Steps somewhat to conform to their particular belief system or treatment model, most of the alternate wording applies to the Steps which reference God or have to do with religion. Having said that, the Steps void of references to God and deities still remain powerful and life changing for many addicts. So for anyone interested in a non-religious 12 Step program, there are options available.

There are different types of 12 Step rehab, including those which provide a sense of community by holding meetings where fellow addicts can congregate and these meetings are part of a continuous process of recovery. There are also programs and facilities which base their treatment model off of the 12 Steps but do so in a more structured environment such as an inpatient drug rehab facility or perhaps a residential facility. In a 12 Step rehab which is set up to provide treatment in an inpatient or residential facility, clients have detox services available to them when they first abstain from drugs and alcohol, and there is an exact plan which is overseen by treatment professionals with an end goal in mind to stabilize them and prepare them for a drug and alcohol free life outside of rehab. This type of environment can be very beneficial for individuals who are newly drug and alcohol free, because they don't have the option to come and go as they please. Otherwise, someone who is recovering from addiction and participating in 12 Step meetings and support groups could simply choose to not attend, or perhaps choose to relapse because they will have easy access to drugs or alcohol during moments of weakness.

To highlight why it is important for someone people to do the 12 Steps in a more structured environment such as an inpatient or residential drug rehab facility, studies show that only about 60% of individuals who join AA attend meetings regularly. Of those who choose to stop attending meetings for whatever reason, many of them end up returning because they have relapsed at a rate of about 40%. So for a vast majority of 12 Steppers, it is recommended that they find a program that works for them and incorporates the Steps into a treatment model that can be delivered in an inpatient or residential facility where they can receive the constant support of treatment professionals and their peers in recovery while also being in a drug and alcohol free environment. This drastically reduced the chances of relapse and their chances of actually continually applying the 12 Steps successfully to their lives.

Inpatient and residential drug rehab programs which incorporate the Steps into their treatment plan provide a more structured and formal treatment format for clients. This has been proven, based on success rates, to be the best format for someone who has experienced chronic long term addiction. It not only greatly enhances the overall recovery process but increases their chances of fulfilling their goals laid out in the 12 Steps. If an inpatient 12 Step rehab is chosen, individuals can receive professional detox services, dual diagnosis treatment if there is a co-occurring mental health disorder, and most of all a drug and alcohol free environment where treatment professionals can monitor their progress and provide any needed additional support and intervention so they complete the program successfully.

In a residential facility individuals can be in a very accommodating and therapeutic environment where they can take part in a 12 Step treatment plan or a treatment model which incorporates the Steps while also being afforded many of the comforts of home. Being in such an environment can be essential for some, who may need several weeks of treatment before they are ready to return to their normal daily lives. Long term treatment in either a 12 Step inpatient or residential rehab is crucial for individuals who have tried other less intensive programs in the past but have relapsed. In long term 12 Step rehab, clients will be in treatment for at least 90 days, in which case they will need a robust support system outside of rehab as well to help support their decision to be sober.