The 12-step method, which began with the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, was the standard way to treat alcoholism and addiction for decades. However, many treatment facilities have stopped including it as a part of their treatment programs. At Pax House, we still believe in the efficacy of the 12-step method, which is why we include daily support group meetings as part of our comprehensive and holistic treatment program.
The 12-step method was first developed by Dr. Bob and Bill W., the founders of AA, in 1935. Since then, it has been adapted for many other support groups that help people overcome behavioral health problems, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The method helps recovering addicts create the change necessary to live a life free of alcohol and drugs. The Twelve Steps indicate that trusting in a higher power is an important element in recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Although AA was founded on a Christian doctrine, it has evolved to include any spiritual or religious belief.
The Twelve Steps include some version of the following, which are the original Steps from AA:
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.
The main benefit of the 12-step approach is that it provides clients a path to follow that includes a support network. By attending meetings during a residential treatment program, a client begins the habit of attending meetings. This makes it easier for them to continue once they have completed the program. There are AA, NA and other 12-step support group meetings almost anywhere. A client can easily join a meeting whenever they need the support when they return home. If they already have attended meetings and formed a habit of doing so, they will more likely continue to do so. Additionally, if they have already begun to accomplish some of the steps before leaving treatment, the chances are higher that they will continue to do so on their own. It is because of this that 12-step meetings provide an element of aftercare and relapse prevention.
At Pax House, we still believe in the time honored and proven method of the 12 Steps. Therefore, we encourage our clients to attend local 12-step meetings every day, and we will transport them to the meetings when necessary. We also assist them in performing the initial steps in their journey to recovery. We feel this provides the necessary foundation for when they return home to continue the path to lifelong sobriety on their own.