Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first 12-step program, founded in 1935. Since then, 12-step programs have helped millions of people throughout the world manage and maintain their sobriety. AA was created to help those suffering from alcohol addiction. Because of the approach’s effectiveness, the 12-step program philosophy has been used as the model to create programs to support those in recovery from a wide array of other substance use and mental health disorders.
Published in 1939, the Big Book is used across all 12-step programs as a guide to gaining acceptance and spiritual awakening. Participation in a 12-step therapy program as part of an aftercare plan can be an effective way of maintaining your sobriety. To learn more about the benefits of a 12-step program, reach out to the Harmony Hills team today using our online form or calling 855.494.0357.
What Happens in a 12-Step Therapy Program?
Meetings are the core of 12-step programs and can be found almost anywhere throughout the world. While all meetings follow the same basic format, there is a great variety in the types of meetings available, making it easier to find the group where you will feel the most comfortable. For example, there are meetings specifically for women only, men only, young adults, LGBTQ+, and several other special interests. There are also different meeting formats, such as:
- Open meetings
- Closed meetings
- Big Book meetings
- Step study meetings
- Discussion meetings
- Speaker meetings
- Beginner meetings
It is a common misconception that 12-step programs are very religious. While the original AA fellowship did have a Christian influence, the approach has been updated to include all belief systems. The Serenity Prayer is usually said at the beginning and end of meetings, but reciting it is not mandatory. The general format for all 12-step meetings follows:
- Welcome and opening
- Moment of silence and Serenity Prayer
- Explanation of 12-step values, the expectation of confidentiality, statement of openness to all
- Reading from the Big Book, 12 Traditions, or 12 steps
- Introductions (first name only, and there is no requirement to speak)
- Introduction of speaker or meeting facilitator
- Discussion (no requirement to speak)
- Passing of collection basket (not required)
Newcomers to most meetings will find that other members will reach out to welcome you, introduce themselves, and offer their contact information as a resource for support. It is common practice for newcomers to attend 90 meetings in 90 days, as this has shown to be effective in relapse prevention during the early stages of sobriety.
The Benefits of a 12-Step Therapy Program
12-step program meetings have shown to produce effects similar to the benefits of group therapy. Research indicates that group therapy is a highly effective way of treating people who share common substance use or mental health disorders. 12-step programs help provide the structure and routine that are so important to maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse. Other key benefits of a 12-step therapy program are that they:
- Teach you to become accountable to yourself and others
- Provide a sober community
- Are a low- or no-cost resource
- Provide support from people who understand what you are going through
- Destigmatize substance use and mental health disorders
- Reduce isolation and foster a sense of belonging
- Help you accept your problem and learn to live with it in healthy ways
While there are new approaches to substance abuse treatment, the 12-step model remains the most trusted and widely-used approach to recovery. When used in conjunction with other evidence-based therapies, 12-step programs effectively help individuals maintain long-term recovery. Reach out to Harmony Hills at 855.494.0357 to learn more about the benefits of our 12-step therapy program.
Learn About a 12-Step Program at Harmony Hills
Harmony Hills is a private substance abuse and mental health treatment center in Florida. We believe effective treatment involves mind, body, and spirit and provides a full continuum of care, from detox treatment through aftercare planning. Harmony Hills relies on evidence-based therapies to help educate our clients and their families about mental health and addiction to promote long-term recovery. To find out about 12-step programs and other treatment options, call Harmony Hills today at 855.494.0357.