In the past decade, there has been quite a debate rising over the efficacy of 12-step therapy programmes in the treatment of those who struggle with their addictions. While many who say the 12-step model does not work or is only effective for 5-8% of the population who can ‘buy into’ them, there are countless numbers of recovering addicts who give testimony to the effectiveness of such a programme in their own rehab process.
The basic premise of a 12-step therapy programme is to give those who struggle with addiction a method of learning to understand and manage their substance or habit abuse. Additionally, through this type of programme, a social support system is established with others who are currently struggling, or have struggled, with addiction themselves. Group meetings with other recovering addicts guide members through the 12-step therapy process similar to those originally developed by the creators of the American Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) programme.
As defined by Alcoholics Anonymous Great Britain, the twelve steps are:
Put plainly, 12-step therapy programmes encourage participants to accept responsibility for their role in their addiction. They are forced to admit that their choices, decisions, and actions are what resulted in their addictive behaviour. Each step builds upon the last, and ultimately participants emerge with a new ability to manage their thought patterns, which is based on accepting individual responsibility for one’s actions.
There are advocates both for, and against them, but according to many participants of the 12-step therapy model, ‘it works if you work it’. Meaning, participants get out of it what they put into it. Those who are genuinely motivated and committed to overcoming their addictions are more likely to find and maintain sobriety than those have not fully embraced the gravity of their addictive behaviours.
Further, many individuals who are instructed to attend these types of programmes per a directive of the justice system are more incentivised and so are also more likely to be successful with this kind of therapy programme.
There are a group of sceptics who believe that the religious foundation of a 12-step therapy programme is a deterrent for those who do not adhere to Christian principles. However, a study quoted in the American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment points out that “when they do become involved in SHGs [self-help groups], less religious individuals appear to derive as much or more benefit from them as more religious individuals do.”
The same study also found that:
So, it can be concluded that there is merit to the 12-step therapy model. Between those individuals who have found success with this type of treatment, and several studies, including that cited herein, those who find success are those who are the most committed to making the programme work and engage in other treatment programmes concurrently with their involvement in the 12-step therapy.
Additionally, those who remain involved as aftercare following their primary rehab treatment benefit from the reinforcement of lessons learned while in formal treatment. Overall, ongoing research indicates that these types of programmes are beneficial as part of a more holistic and comprehensive treatment programme comprised of detox, different therapy types, and aftercare, and include treatments and therapies tailored to each person’s specific needs.
Due to its proven value and because our therapy programmes are founded upon empowering individuals to make the necessary changes for betterment in their lives, we are proud to provide the 12-step therapy program for clients who struggle with any substance or behaviour addiction. Contact us today for more information on how we can help your situation.