What are the 12 Steps?

The 12 Steps were created in 1939 in Akron, Ohio, by recovering alcoholics Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob, an Akron surgeon. 12 Steps were initially used as a set of guiding principles for Alcoholics Anonymous - a now well-known group therapy treatment for those struggling with alcoholism - which they created four years earlier.

A 12 step program is a set of guiding principles, which include (but are not limited to) : admitting that one cannot control one's addiction or compulsion, recognizing a higher power that can give strength to examine past errors with help, making amends for these errors, learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior and, ultimately, help others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.

The 12 Steps Consist Of:

Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2 - Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3 - Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12 - 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.

The 12 Steps: More than Just Treatment for Alcoholics

Initially used as a goal-oriented system to assist alcoholics in becoming sober, 'the steps' are used to treat various addictions. These step-oriented sub-groups include niche organizations such as Cocaine Anonymous, to more general ones, such as Narcotics Anonymous, which consists of all drug addictions.

Below is a small list of organizations, other than AA, officially associated with the original 12 Step Program:

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous, a by-product of AA, was founded in 1953. Originally, NA was an exclusive 12 Step Program that only offered treatment to those who struggled with narcotics-related addictions. However, today NA is a much more inclusive organization that provides 12 Step recovery to "anyone working to overcome any drug or alcohol dependence." - per the NA website's about me page.

What's more, according to recovery.com, NA's mission statement reads:

NA aims to help those suffering from addiction through the process of recovery and spread the message that recovery is possible.

The 12 Steps Have Been Used for Over 80 Years for a Reason

Over eight decades after its creation, the 12 Step Program is still adopted by most rehab programs today. 'The Program's' endurance is implicitly thanks to its indisputable effectiveness in treating addictions of all varieties.

But don't take this article's word for it. Science also believes in Bill W's 80-year old rehabilitative principles:

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, "Twelve Step facilitation therapy is a tried-and-true proven approach."

As the adage goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Are The 12 Steps Associated with Any Religion?

Despite widespread misconceptions to the contrary, the 12 Step Program is not allied with any specific religion whatsoever.

That said, while The Steps may not be associated with any one religion, the application itself is deeply spiritual, even going as far as asking its participants to believe in a higher power or 'something greater than themselves.' 

In fact, half of the steps involve the term 'Higher Power,' one of which insofar stipulates that an addicted person needs to "surrender themselves to said higher being."

Does The 12 Step Program Work for Those Who Identify as an Atheist?

While unapologetically agnostic in its position, experts commonly agree that The Program can also effectively treat those considered non-religious, including those who identify as an atheist.

If a person does not "have a connection" with a higher power or identify as an atheist, psychologist Alfred Adler famously said, "act as if."

To act as if, Adler explained, means that "It only takes two people to make a meeting, and that is a power greater than yourself. Start there. If that's as far as you take it, that's enough." 

Is There a Downside to the 12 Steps?

The 12 Step Program is the most clinically tested and widely used method of outpatient addiction treatment that is used today. 

As far as its shortcomings are, when followed outside of a rehabilitation center, the 12 steps do not singularly address the fundamental and intricate aspects of one's mental health.

The admittedly unfortunate exclusion of mental health therapy, namely, when it comes to mental health disorders (from the 12 Steps and its accompanying publications, such as The Big Book of AA), is problematic if not combined with a concurrent mental health-based treatment model. Statistics show that the majority of addicts also have a mental illness.

Similar to that of addiction, mental health-related disorders are an illness of the mind. 

That being the case, it is common for an addicted person to have at least one type of mental illness. Consequently, it is recommended that a mentally ill and addicted individual be treated by an impatient program to receive accompanying treatment for their mental illness. 

If your young adult child or loved one suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction, you're not alone. While the journey may seem perilous at the moment, rest assured, that recovery is possible, and there is hope.

Soulegria Offers The 12 Steps in its Substance Abuse Treatment

Since its humble beginnings in Akron 84 years ago, 'The Steps' is a curriculum that has evolved into an inclusive tool that most rehabilitation programs and residential treatment centers use in their curriculum.

Like the time-tested common phrase says, Soulegria "is not trying to reinvent the wheel" when it comes to treating young addicts; instead, our clinically-proven curriculum expertly uses it as a fundamental tool.

What more, we incorporate The 12 Steps Program in our dynamic mental health-supported treatment model.

Why do we use the 12 Step Program?

As to why we utilize the 12 steps, the answer is simple: more than because of its proven effectiveness, we fully believe in the ideology of 'The Steps' and instill them in our effective mental health-related treatment.

Our Treatment and Mission

Along with 12 Step treatment, life skills coaching, healthy living skills, and support, we at Soulegria provide dynamic treatment for both addicts and non-addicts who need extra assistance with their transition into young adulthood.

Furthermore, Souegria's treatment model is specifically designed to help develop healthy relationship skills between students and their families. These skills are further necessary for forging one's path toward a life of full independence. 

We at Soulegria want parents of struggling young addicts to know they are not alone and help is just a phone call away. Our mission is to assist their young adult in their journey to live a fulfilling life free of the bonds of alcoholism and drug addiction. For further assistance, please call us today at (800) 348-8508.