What is a 12-step program?
A 12-step program is one method of recovery from addiction. Founded in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous was the first 12-step program. While not the only recovery method, 12-step programs have proven successful for many people coping with addictions. Each step in the program represents one task that an addict must complete to move on to the next.
There are 12-step programs for a wide variety of addictions, ranging from alcohol and narcotics to gambling and computers.
Although 12-step programs emphasize spiritual growth, they have no particular religious affiliation and welcome anyone who is ready to admit that he or she has a problem.
Many programs also have adopted organizational guidelines and rules that each chapter follows, such as the "12 Traditions" of Alcoholics Anonymous.
One of the most important guidelines is the focus on the group as a whole; 12-step programs stress that personal recovery is only possible through the sharing of experiences.
Another important principle is anonymity. Meetings are closed to everyone except participating members. Members use only first names and never publicly discuss personal disclosures. On occasion, however, a group may hold open meetings that friends and family can attend to gain a better understanding of the recovery experience.
Each individual 12-step program may have additional philosophies of its own. The best way to learn more is to research them on the internet, or simply call a potential group and ask whatever questions you may have.
If you think you or a loved one may have an alcohol problem, help is available. To find a 12-step program in your area, or to get the counseling and assistance you need, call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). For further help or more information, consider contacting these organizations:
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