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The beginning of 12 step treatment started in 1934 by two gentlemen, Bill and Dr. Bob, who recognized
that their lives have become unmanageable due to the use of alcohol. The 12 step philosophy has been
a prominent foundation for most treatment centers over the past 70 years and has helped save millions
of sufferers across the world.
The basis of 12 step treatments focuses on the support group system and offers those entering recovery
a community meeting to attend. There are over 55 thousand Alcoholics Anonymous meetings across
the United States. Many people following the 12 step philosophy attend daily meetings in a residential
or outpatient 12 step treatment facility. There are numerous support groups that have stemmed from
A.A. that follow the same steps but address different substances, populations, and issues. The various
groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Heroin Anonymous, Alateen
(teens only) and Al-anon (specifically for family members of alcoholic or addicts) are among the many 12
step support meetings.
The 12 Step Treatment Model
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
Many alcoholics have a hard time admitting that they can’t control their alcohol use. Once they
acknowledge that they are unable to stop on their own, the recovery process can begin.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
AA believes that people with an alcohol addiction need to look to something greater than themselves to
recover. Those working the steps are free to choose whatever higher power works for them.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
For this step, the alcoholic consciously decides to turn themselves over to whatever or whomever they
believe their higher power to be. With this release often comes recovery.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
This step requires self-examination that can be uncomfortable, but honesty is essential in this process.
The key is to identify any areas of past regret, embarrassment, guilt or anger.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
This step involves admitting to past poor behavior. Often, alcoholics will share what they wrote down
during the previous step with their sponsor.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
The alcoholic admits that they are ready to have their higher power remove the wrongs they listed in
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Every person has character defects, whether they come in the form of impatience, anger, apathy,
criticism or negativity. The recovering alcoholic is not strong enough to eliminate these defects on their
own, so they ask their higher power to do so.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Alcoholics write down all of the people they have wronged through their alcoholism. The wrongs could
range from large to small – from stealing from them to buy more alcohol to talking negatively behind
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or
Many alcoholics work with their sponsor to figure out the best way to complete this step. Making
amends could include writing a letter to a person or sitting down face to face with them.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
This step involves a commitment to monitor yourself for any behaviors that may be detrimental to
yourself or others and to admit when you are wrong.
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.
Step 11 requires you to commit to some kind of spiritual practice. That practice could be anything from
prayer, to meditation, to reading scripture.
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.
Entering a 12 Step Treatment Center
Taking the next step and finding the best 12 step treatment facility can be life changing and give you or
your loved one another chance at life in recovery. The 12 step support system while in treatment helps
the individual to have continued support in a group setting. The 12 step philosophy and model will take
one step at a time, and everyone will process and reach each step in various time frames. The main
focus is to start treatment and stay involved in the 12 step community. The best 12 step treatment
programs will offer additional elements which may include exercise, meditation, stress management,
anger management, music therapy, biofeedback, equine therapy and family therapy. There are a
number of elements that can be reviewed and best matched for you or your loved ones specific needs.
12 Step Facility Locations
There are a wide variety of 12 step treatment locations that can be reviewed by you or your loved one.
It is a common occurrence that someone suffering from alcohol or drug addiction will want to stay in
their home area or where they are using. This can be a big problem because it allows for you or the
person entering treatment to more easily leave treatment when having a bad day. During the initial
treatment process, it is best recommended that the addict or alcoholic focus on themselves completely
and not have a lot of outside distractions. If there are circumstances that make it too difficult to leave
the area for treatment, the options will be reviewed.
The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines Team is standing by to provide a free confidential assessment and provide you
the confidence and comfort needed to take the next step of getting help. Making the first call is highly
commendable, and you should be proud of yourself for acknowledging that it is time to make the
change and receive the gift of treatment for a good life. Call a Treatment Specialist at (888) 811-0544 for
a free confidential assessment and insurance verification.