About the 12-Step Model

Many recovery support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are based on a “12 step model of treatment” program constructed on a specific set of principles by which each group member is expected to abide. Examples of these guiding tenets include admitting that you are an addict, attempting to rectify past mistakes by apologizing to family and friends who were negatively affected by your addiction and making a point to assist others who are also suffering from an addiction.

12-step model programs are intense, soul-searching programs that demand much from individuals who participate in them. Additionally, one of the most helpful aspects of belonging to a 12-step model program is the constant support of other members who are always “on call” in the event another member experiences a crisis that precipitates relapsing into old behaviors.

Originally created to help recovering alcoholics, the modern 12 step model of treatment program consists of a list of
principles that outline specific tenets formulated to help an addict adhere to sobriety and live a
life without being addicted to a substance or behavior. The American Psychological Association
summarizes a 12-step model program as a process of recovery that involves:

  • Admitting you have an addiction problem and that you need help controlling the compulsion to abuse substances or engage in self-destructive behaviors
  • Earnestly examining your past and realizing you have made errors that can be resolved
  • Learning how to live a sober life by adopting new behaviors
  • Consistently helping others who are suffering from addictions and other compulsive behaviors by offering personal insight and empathy
  • Accepting that a higher power can help you overcome your addiction

Alcoholics Anonymous

The original 12 principles underlying the purpose of AA consisted of the following admissions:

  • We admit we are powerless over alcohol
  • We believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us our sanity
  • We have made a decision to give our lives to God as we understand Him
  • We have made a fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  • We have admitted to God, to ourselves and to other human beings the nature of our wrongs
  • We are ready to have God remove all our defects of character
  • We humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings
  • We have made a list of all people we have harmed and are willing to make amends to them
  • We will make direct amends to those we have harmed whenever possible
  • We will continue to take personal inventory and admit our wrongs when necessary
  • We have sought through meditation and prayer to improve our conscious contact with God (as we understand him)
  • Having experienced a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to other alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Today, these 12 basic principles have been altered to adapt to the needs of specific fellowships
but still retain their essential meaning. Moreover, you do not have to believe in the Judeo-
Christian God to participate in a 12-step model program. These principles can be applied to any lifestyle,
spiritual belief or non-belief or ethnicity.

Emotional, physical, spiritual and mental recovery is emphasized in any 12-step model program, along
with the belief that a spiritual awakening can overcome the spiritual emptiness produced by self-
centeredness and selfishness. However, according to 12 step model of treatment principles, the spiritual awakening
experienced by members of a certain group is not something that is dramatic and sudden but
develops slowly, over the period of recovery during which the individual learns more about
himself, his past errors and how making amends can help lead to humbleness and gratitude.

Building a Sober Social Network—The Importance of Avoiding “Triggers”

Risk of relapse is nearly 100 percent if a recovering addict chooses to socialize with acquaintances they knew when they were using drugs and alcohol. Even visiting old haunts like bars, street corners and particular neighborhoods can trigger the urge to engage in ritualistic behaviors—cooking heroin, preparing a syringe, cleaning a crack pipe before smoking, for example—that inevitably leads to cravings that are powerful and relentless. Avoiding triggers by building a network of sober, responsible friends who engage in sober activities can provide the kind of support that is essential for recovering addicts to experience a long-term, relapse-free recovery.

Additional Things To Do To Make Your Recovery Successful

  • Actively seek and obtain employment
  • Get regular exercise, eat healthy and socialize as much as possible
  • Explore new hobbies and activities that you enjoy
  • Practice mindfulness every day and train yourself not to dwell on the past
  • Perform volunteer work, if possible.
  • Report any physical or mental problems to your doctor as soon as possible

To learn more about alcohol addiction treatment and the 12 step model of treatment, please call Lumiere Healing Centers today at 513-909-2225.