The History of the 12-step Program

The History of the 12-step Program

In 1935, Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson began the first 12-step program in Akron, Ohio. Though originally designed for recovering alcoholics, 12-step programs and variations on these programs have been adopted by many other support groups, including Narcotics Anonymous (which adopted similar principles in 1953), for those recovering from a wide range of addictions.

Many of these groups offer their members a safe, anonymous environment to work through the numerous issues – with career, relationships, and other personal and social areas – that can develop as a result of addiction. In these situations, the member is only known by his or her first name, and the group encourages all members to respect the confidentiality of others when they leave the meeting.

Sponsorship is another common characteristic of recovery support groups. When a new member joins the group, he or she is often assigned another individual who is much further in the program to give the new member personalized support and attention during their process of recovery. Sponsors are not professionals, but rather, someone who has experienced the same path that the recovering addict will follow – just began a bit earlier.

The steps are:

1) To admit that [the substance] has taken control over the addict’s life.

2) To believe that something greater than ourselves can restore the addict’s life & sanity.

3) The addict decides to let that Higher Power (however the addict perceives it) to take control.

4) The addict has a detailed, honest period of self-reflection.

5) The addict confess his/her wrongs to that Higher Power and to another person after take responsibility for them him/herself.

6) The addict prepares mentally for the Higher Power to remove and resolve these areas in which the addict has failed.

7) With sincere humility, the addict asks the Higher Power to do so.

8) The addict reflects on and remembers who has been harmed by his/her failures/wrongs.

9) The addict seeks forgiveness or attempts to make amends unless doing so would cause greater harm to the other individual or to the addict.

10) The addict becomes vigilant and perpetually aware of his/her behavior, admitting fault promptly when necessary.

11) The addict spends regular time in contact with his/her understanding of the High Power – through scripture, meditation, or prayer – asking for discretion and strength.

12) In light of the spiritual experience that the 12-step program offers, the addict should be willing to share his/her experience with others who may have similar problems, and the addict should strive to demonstrate these principles in his/her daily living.

It is important to remember that these groups are only in part about addiction recovery. It is often necessary for an addict to experience an intervention led by a team of professionals in conjunction with family and friends before the addict or alcoholic will be able to take the first step. eDrug Rehab is able to offer intervention services, as well as to guide you in choosing the appropriate detox and rehab facility for yourself or your loved one. To speak with one of our professional intervention experts, visit the contact us page for more information

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