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what are the 12 steps in a 12 step program

You don’t have to be in recovery to know what a twelve-step program is. Created by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, “The 12 Steps” were an outline for alcoholics to follow, to help them on their path to recovery. Today, the 12-Step model has been adapted by recovery and rehabilitation specialists and serves as a guide not only for alcohol addiction but for drug and substance-abuse addiction recovery programs throughout the country.

History Of The 12-Step Program

There are certain types of addiction treatment programs and support groups that treat addiction. The most well-known support group for addiction treatment is that of the 12 steps of recovery. 

As mentioned earlier, the 12 steps of recovery were created by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. For some context, Bill W. was a man that always struggled with alcohol use. Bill W. also struggled with the organized Christian religion and the idea of God. That was until Bill’s friend had a religious epiphany. 

Shortly after this, Bill began to wonder what he would have to do to experience the same thing. Unfortunately, Bill spent days and nights questioning God and himself and the way God operates. That is until his religious friend gave him some insight. The insight that Bill’s friend gave him was to get his conception of God. 

Once Bill received this advice, he had a spiritual epiphany of his own. Before he knew it, he was able to kick his drinking addiction. That’s when it hit him, maybe he should incorporate spirituality into the steps of how to overcome alcoholism. 

Bill W. Meets Dr. Bob

During the time that Bill was trying to continue to abstain from drinking, he happened to call Dr. Bob to stay with him and his wife for moral support to help keep him from drinking. Dr. Bob also struggled with a drinking problem. However, around the time that Dr. Bob started staying with Bill W. and communicating with him about the 12 steps of recovery, Dr. Bob had his last drink. 

The last day that Dr. Bob had a drink is seen as the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous, June 10, 1935. After that date, Bill and Dr. Bob began writing the Big Book together for alcoholics for the Oxford Group. Several years later, everything that Bill and Dr. Bob wrote about the 12 steps of recovery became the book, Alcoholics Anonymous.   

Purpose Of The Rehabilitation Steps

The original purpose behind the 12 steps of recovery was to help out men that suffered from alcoholism but couldn’t go to meetings and had few fellow alcoholics to connect with. This purpose continues to hold today. The purpose of the 12 steps of recovery has expanded today. Today, the purpose of the 12 steps of recovery would be to help all alcoholics and drug addicts gain the ability to stop using substances and remain sober. Another major purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous today is to build one’s support network. 

What Are the 12 Rehabilitation Steps In Alcoholics Anonymous?

The 12 steps of recovery are used to treat alcoholism along with other types of drug addictions today. Although, The main form of 12 steps of recovery is those for Alcoholics Anonymous. This is because the creators of the 12 steps, Bill W. and Dr. Bob originally suffered from alcoholism. The rehabilitation steps in AA’s 12-step program are:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable

AA believes that people can’t overcome alcoholism (or other addictions) on their own. Willpower and personal strength will not prevent them from drinking.

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

For some people, the higher power may be God, and for others, it might be a belief in the universe itself.

Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him

God can come in many forms. The purpose of this step is to further admit that alcoholics can’t recover on their own.

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Making a list of poor choices and character flaws, individuals can see the hurt they caused to others. Likewise, they realize that feelings like fear and guilt have motivated their past actions.

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

Members working this step will usually sit with their sponsor and confess everything they described in Step 4. This requires the person to set aside their ego and pride to admit to past shameful behavior. This also frees the alcoholic from hiding behind guilt and lies.

We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character 

In this step, the individual accepts that they are ready to have a higher power (whatever that may be) remove the moral weaknesses identified in Step 4.

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings

In this step, the person needs to focus on the positive features of their character, such as:

  • Humility
  • Kindness
  • Compassion and the desire for change, along with stepping away from the negative aspects.

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all

At this time, recovering addicts make a list of all the people they have hurt. This often includes people they hurt during their active addiction, but it may go back further.

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

When coupled with Step 8, this gives recovering addicts the chance to make things right with people they have hurt. 

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it

Associated with Step 4, this involves a commitment to keep watching for any character defects. Also, it involves a promise to admit it when you’re wrong.

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

This step commits the recovering addict to continue their spiritual progress. This might mean reading the scripture every morning for some people. But for others, it may mean a daily meditation practice. Simply, it involves an obligation to spend time reevaluating your spiritual and mental state.

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

This final step involves helping other people and serves as a motivation to also become a sponsor. Individuals have a major internal shift by going through the 12 steps and part of that is the wish to help others.

The Rehabilitation Steps At Little Creek Lodge

At Little Creek Lodge, our programs are based on this 12-Step model. We treat addiction on the physical, spiritual, and mental levels, offering a comprehensive treatment program for substance abuse. Through our recreational and creative programs, combined with customized clinical care, we can give residents the time and space they need to rediscover themselves and empower themselves to make good choices for a healthy, sober lifestyle.

What Are The 12 Traditions?

In 1953, the official book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions was published. This was the same year that the first Narcotics Anonymous (NA) group was formed. The purpose of establishing 12 traditions on top of the traditional 12 steps for alcoholics was to be more inclusive and use the 12 steps of recovery to treat other substance addictions outside of alcoholism. Still, the 12 traditions were based around treating alcoholism, hence the wording of the twelve traditions.

The 12 Traditions of Addiction include:

  1. The common welfare comes first.
  2. There is one ultimate authority, which is the loving God.
  3. The desire to stop drinking is the only membership requirement.
  4. Each AA group is autonomous, except in matters affecting all groups.
  5. Each group’s primary purpose is to carry the message to those struggling with alcohol.
  6. AA does not give money, endorsement, or prestige to organizations outside of the group’s mission.
  7. Each group must self-support and decline outside contributions.
  8. The core of the group meetings is nonprofessional, peer support.
  9. There is no central organizing body.
  10. AA remains apolitical, with no opinion on outside issues.
  11. The personal anonymity of members is deeply important. 
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of the traditions, placing principles above the person.

Why Is Anonymity So Important?

Anonymity is the foundation of the Traditions, reminding you that principle should be placed above personalities. And, to accomplish this, anonymity needs to be maintained at all levels of participation–meetings, 12-step work, and sponsorship. It is maintained for the protection of the program, more than the protection of the individual. By not using last names, the program is not an anonymous individual program but it is a “we” program.

How Successful Is AA?

According to analysts at the Stanford School of Medicine, AA is the most effective path to abstinence. After considering 35 studies, which included the work of 145 scientists and 10,820 participants, it was determined:

  • AA is almost always more effective than psychotherapy
  • Taking part in AA lowers health care costs

Furthermore, most of the studies that measured abstinence found that AA was markedly better than other treatments or no treatment at all. One study found it to be 60% more effective. No studies found it to be less effective. 

As for the research that considered costs, most showed significant savings with AA participation. One found that 12-step facilitation counseling and AA reduced mental health costs by $10,000 per person. Although the study only focused on alcohol addiction, researchers agreed that the findings were “certainly suggests that these methods work for people who use heroin or cocaine.”

Surrender Is About Empowering Yourself

Little Creek Lodge is an addiction treatment center that provides inpatient addiction treatment for men only. This is because we understand that men misuse substances at higher rates. 

Here at Little Creek Lodge, we also understand that men tend to struggle more with opening up and revealing their emotions. That’s why we specialize in music therapy to provide our male residents with an avenue to express themselves and more easily connect with their emotions.

Something else that we know is that men struggle more often with asking for help. That’s why our primary objective is to get our male residents to accept their diagnosis while managing their daily recovery. That way they understand that they can ask for help when they need it. By teaching our male residents how to engage with others through asking for help, it’s helping to further develop their emotional coping skills. 

Drug And Alcohol Addiction Treatment In Pennsylvania

At Little Creek Recovery, we value the 12 steps of recovery. That’s why we focus on a 12 step philosophy in conjunction with reality-based therapies. We also design our programs to engage with our residents’ ongoing barriers, whether they be spiritual, mental, social, or a combination of them all. 

Our practice at Little Creek Lodge is to provide guidance, individual, and group therapies, and recreational outings, along with daily 12 step meetings. This allows our residents to engage in mental, physical, and spiritual experiences that are essential to long-term recovery. 

Ultimately, our mission and purpose are to commit to building a strong foundation and integrating internalized recovery through therapeutic and 12 step models, with a focus on the spiritual concept. To do this, we must understand the history of the 12 steps of recovery. 

The road to recovery can be difficult. At Little Creek Lodge, we provide a safe and healthy environment for all men in need of inpatient drug and alcohol addiction recovery services. To learn more about our addiction treatment center, our addiction treatment programs and therapies, as well as our sober living services, contact us today. You can do so over the phone or by filling out our contact form. You can even schedule an interview with us or visit our facility in person here in Pennsylvania. Regardless of how you choose to get in contact with us, we are always ready, willing, and available to hear from you.

References:

www.aa.org/assets/en_US/

www.alcohol.org/alcoholics-anon

www.med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2020


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Little Creek Lodge
359 Easton Turnpike
Hamlin, PA 18427