Recovering from any substance addiction can be a long road, and it is equally as important to have a solid support system as it is to have an action plan of how you will maintain sobriety. Completing a 12-step program can provide you with just that, along with the pride and confidence in yourself for following through with a treatment plan. Originally created by Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step program is a set of principles used to guide those recovering from addiction in changing their unhealthy behaviors. It has since been adopted by other recovery programs to help treat a variety of other addictions and behavioral health issues.

The Twelve Steps

  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. 

How It Helps During Treatment

Participating in a 12-step program can help you permanently recover by addressing the underlying psychology of your addiction. By requiring you to analyze your impulses and reasons for drinking, it is easier to create an action plan to replace them with healthier behaviors. After all, recovery cannot be achieved until you break the cycle of bad habits. Once you establish a healthy routine and stick with it, then you will find yourself less tempted to solve every problem with alcohol.
Recovery means constantly reflecting on where you are in your recovery process in comparison to where you want to be. While this may seem daunting, outlining your path forward and keeping your goal in focus is necessary for staying on track. Similarly, it is important to remember that recovery is not something you have to go through alone. In fact, more people experience success when they have a support team to remind them of why they quit drinking. Whether it is a family member, rehabilitation center, or support group, it is important to find others who will encourage you to keep bettering yourself.