12-Step Support Groups Explained

Deciding to go to addiction treatment is a vital first step towards sobriety; however, completing a 30-, 60- or 90-day addiction treatment program is not the last step on your journey. Whether upon discharge, as part of an aftercare plan, or while attending counseling during treatment, many recovering addicts are encouraged to join a support group to help maintain recovery. 12-step support groups can be highly beneficial for all types of addiction treatment programs, including inpatient residential, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs. 

What Are 12-Step Support Groups?

The most popular (or well-known) 12-step program is Alcoholics Anonymous. The roots of Alcoholics Anonymous date back to 1935 in Akron, Ohio. The first AA group was founded in the fall of 1935, and the size of the organization has continued to grow for more than eighty years. Also, the founding ideals of AA have spread to other similar 12-step programs that have designed their programs and values to align with the same tenants as AA. 

The traditional 12-step program is based on the “12-step” first laid out in 1935. The primary objective of the steps is for the participant to accept that they are powerless over substance abuse (or another behavioral addiction) and to put faith in a “higher power” as the key to recovery. 12-step programs define recovery by abstinence, and most people in the group actively count the days since they last engaged in substance abuse. During the early stages of recovery, participants may be encouraged to participate in 90 meetings in 90 days. The theory behind this is that attending meetings daily for the first three months immediately post-treatment helps establish a new, substance-free routine and build a strong foundation for ongoing sobriety. 

Today 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are widely available across the nation and worldwide. There are various types of meetings, including “open” meetings that anyone, including family members of recovering addicts, can attend. There are also closed meetings (only for those struggling with addiction), gender-specific meetings, and meetings for the LGBTQ community. 12-step support groups also extend beyond helping those directly struggling with addiction. There are several different support groups designed for families, friends, and caregivers. Examples of these include Families Anonymous, Al-Anon, and NAR Anon.

Are 12-Step Support Groups Used in Rehabs?

In the United States, an overwhelming majority of public and private addiction treatment centers (including those for adolescents and teens) use either the 12-step approach or a modified version of the 12-step program as part of their treatment program. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s (SAMHSA) National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, nearly 70% of treatment centers in the United States include 12-step support groups as part of their treatment models. When integrating the 12-step approach into therapy, most programs concentrate on the first five steps during primary treatment, while the remaining steps are part of aftercare programs. 

How to Get Help with Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, the decision to seek addiction treatment may be one of the most difficult you will make. At Rise in Malibu, our admissions team understands how challenging the initial steps on the journey to sobriety can be. Our Malibu addiction treatment team will work with you and your family to learn more about your treatment goals and, with that information, create a unique treatment plan that integrates evidence-based addiction treatment practices with alternative, holistic and supportive treatment elements. Addiction affects everyone differently, and therefore, addiction treatment must be individualized to ensure the strongest opportunities for sobriety and long-term recovery. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs near you in Malibu, contact Rise Recovery today

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