12 Step Programs in Alcohol Rehab Centers

Twelve-step programs are an integral part of many alcohol rehab centers and have been for decades. This widely-used form of treatment uses group support and a set of guided principles (the 12 steps) to help a person obtain and maintain sobriety. When combined with other forms of alcohol addiction treatment, such as residential treatment, counseling and sober living, the 12-step program increases the chances of long-term sobriety.

About the 12-Step Program

The 12-step program first began with Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s, and has been used ever since as the most popular way to deal with alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictive or dysfunctional behaviors.  The basic principles of the 12 steps are:

* Admitting that you’ve become powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable.
* Recognizing that a higher power can give your strength.
* Examining past errors and making amends for them.
* Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior.
* Helping others who suffer from alcoholism.

Choosing a “sponsor” is a key part of a 12-step program. A sponsor is a recovered alcoholic with experience in sobriety who can provide guidance and support as you try to gain your own sobriety. For some people, the first basic principle of the 12 steps — relying on a higher power — is a huge turn off because they have a strong philosophical objection to organized religion. For those people, a “higher power” can be interpreted as anything you want it mean. You don’t have to believe in God or organized religion in order to benefit from the 12 steps.

12-Step Programs in Alcohol Rehab Centers

In alcohol rehab centers, 12-step programs will be offered in conjunction with a variety of treatment options. People who combine other types of treatment with the 12-step recovery process have the highest success of long-term sobriety.

The main types of alcohol addiction treatment are:

* Residential treatment. Residential treatment varies from 30-90 days and involves living at a treatment facility in order to undergo intensive treatment.

* Counseling. Counseling can involve individual, group, couple or family therapy and is usually used in conjunction with other types of treatment or as follow-up support. In counseling you’ll be able to identify the root cause of your alcohol addiction and learn how to make better decisions in your life.

* Sober living. A sober living home is a group of recovering alcoholics who live together in order to support each other and provide an environment free of alcohol and drugs. Sober living is recommended for people who have just completed residential treatment and are at risk for relapsing if they return home.

Choosing an Alcohol Rehab Center

There are many choices when it comes to alcohol rehab centers. When deciding, you should focus on which types of treatment they offer, staff credentials, if they have the proper licensing, and what types of aftercare programs they offer to prevent relapse. You’ll want to decide if you need residential or outpatient rehab, assisted detox, and treatment for a dual diagnosis of a co-occurring disorder. Talking to a medical doctor about your symptoms can help you determine which type of treatment you’ll need.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.