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Do the 12 Steps Work?

Updated: Jan 28


what does and does not work in a 12 step program
One Size does not fit all

If you are seeking help to break free from your addiction, you may be wondering if the 12-Step Program is right for you. While it might not be a one-size-fits-all solution, the 12-Steps can provide structure and guidance that can lead to an improved quality of life. HOWEVER, research has shown that the 12-Step program only works for around 10-15% of the population. Here at our blog, we aim to thoroughly investigate this topic so that addicts everywhere can gain more knowledge about whether or not this type of recovery program could work best for them. We’re also going to look at different approaches that can be taken which have a much higher success rate in maintaining a new lifestyle once detoxed from substances.


What are the 12 Steps of Addiction Recovery Programs?


Addiction affects millions of people worldwide, making it one of the most significant public health concerns. To combat this issue, addiction recovery programs have been developed, each with its own unique approach to treating substance abuse disorders. However, these programs share a common foundation based on the 12 steps. Developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s, the 12 Steps provide a set of principles to help individuals struggling with addiction overcome their disease. The 12 steps emphasize personal responsibility, spiritual growth, and social support to help individuals achieve long-term recovery. Although initially designed for those struggling with alcohol addiction, the 12 Steps have since been adopted by other addiction recovery programs, making them a universally recognized tool for combating addiction.


The 12-Step Program - The Drawbacks


The 12-step program has become a popular approach for those who struggle with addiction. Despite its prominence, this method isn't without its drawbacks. One of the core features of the program, which I’m sure a lot of people will be aware of is the affirmation part of meetings. Hi, my name is XXX and I am an alcoholic. The reason this can have such a negative impact on people is that The power of the "I am" statements is huge. If you continually tell yourself, I am bad, I am worthless, you’re eventually going to start thinking, you’re bad and worthless. As such, why would we want to AFFIRM we’re an alcoholic? Setting a healthy self-image, I am good, I do not need to do X and learning how to set goals that align with your life purpose is far more beneficial than repeating a statement which can lead to a negative self-image.


Why Some People Find Success with the 12-Step Program


The 12-Step Program has been a popular path to sobriety for decades, but what makes it effective for certain individuals? Researchers have been investigating why some people find success with the program while others struggle to connect with it. One factor may be the sense of community and support that the program provides. Attending meetings and connecting with others who have experienced similar struggles can be incredibly empowering. However, going to a meeting like this is not the only place to find support when recovering from addiction. I offer both group coaching and 1:1 coaching for individuals who are on the road to recovery and are looking for a more holistic approach to their recovery journey.


The Role of Sponsorship in 12-Step Programs


Sponsorship is a fundamental part of 12-Step programs, and understanding its role is crucial to navigate through the program successfully. As someone who is new to the program, you may have heard the term "sponsor" thrown around but may not fully understand what it means. In short, a sponsor is someone who has more experience in the program than you and is willing to share their experience, strength, and hope with you. They guide you through the 12-Steps and offer support during trying times. While a sponsor is not considered a therapist or counselor, they provide emotional support to new members and help them build a network of sober individuals. When you work with someone like me, I become a defacto sponsor, I am here to support and guide you through this process in a more holistic way. I wouldn’t use the term sponsor however, the roles are very similar.


Alternatives to Traditional 12-Step Programs


Individuals seeking support for addiction often turn to 12-Step programs, but for some, these programs may not resonate with their beliefs or personal experiences. Fortunately, there are alternatives available that cater to a broader range of individuals. As I’ve already mentioned, only 10-15% of people who go through these programs actually find success. When you work with me, I am able to guide you through a different process, a process which helps you change your mental framework and mindset. Which, in turn will allow you to make those changes you so desperately crave. 


How Long-Term Sobriety is Achieved Through a Combination of Resources and Support Structures


Achieving long-term sobriety is no small feat, and it requires a combination of resources and support structures. Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, and it is important to have a strong foundation to maintain long-lasting results. Support systems can come in many forms, such as family and friends, healthcare professionals, and your coach. Accessing and utilizing these resources can help individuals navigate the challenges associated with addiction recovery. By understanding the importance of these resources and support structures, those in recovery can find the tools they need to build a fulfilling life free from addiction.


In summary, the 12-Steps of addiction recovery can provide individuals a path to overcome substance use disorder and achieve long-term sobriety. However, the success rate of these programs is surprisingly low. If you’re looking for a more sustainable way to combat addiction, please download my book or book a discovery call to see if you would benefit from my program.

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