Drug Rehab and the 12 Step Program

Twelve-step programs have been a key part of many rehab facilities for decades. No matter what the addiction is — drugs, alcohol, food, gambling or sex — the 12-step program is an important part of the recovery process. When combined with other forms of drug addiction treatment (such as residential treatment, counseling and sober living), drug rehab and the 12-step program increase the chances of long-term sobriety.

How the 12-Step Program Works

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.  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. Twelve-step programs believe that addiction is a progressive disease that is based on physical, emotional and spiritual factors. In order to recover, all three of these areas must be healed.

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.

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 they 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 Drug Rehab Centers

In drug 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 drug 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 drug addiction and learn how to make better decisions in your life.

* Sober living. A sober living home is a group of recovering drug addicts 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.

Finding a 12-Step Program for Drug Addiction

You can find a 12-step support group in just about any city in the United States. Narcotics Anonymous (www.na.org) and Cocaine Anonymous (www.ca.org) are just two examples of support systems designed to treat drug addiction through the 12-step recovery process.

If your addiction requires more than group support, a drug rehab center can provide addiction treatment combined with the 12-step program to increase your chances of sobriety. When deciding on a drug rehab center, 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.