12-Step programs are support group meetings for people battling destructive behaviors. During meetings, attendees admit past mistakes, surrender to a higher power, make amends with those they've wronged, and learn to stay sober.
The 12 Steps of Recovery
The 12-step programs encourage members to adopt a set of 12 guiding principles.
- We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
- 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.
Examples of 12-Step Programs
- Adult Children of Alcoholics
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Al-Anon or Alateen
- Crystal Meth Anonymous
- Debtors Anonymous
- Dual Recovery Anonymous
- Families Anonymous
- Food Addicts Anonymous
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Nicotine Anonymous
- Overeaters Anonymous
- Sex Addicts Anonymous
- Spenders Anonymous
12-Step meetings are held in public facilities (schools, churches, or community centers) and are often free to join. Studies have shown that those who participate in 12-step programs reduce their drug intake when compared to those who do not utilize self-help groups.
If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, consider joining a 12-step program in your community. For most groups, all that is required to join is a desire to begin recovery. An invitation is not required and there are no dues or fees.