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12 Steps To Recovery From Addiction- Know Its Effectiveness And Health Risks

12 Steps To Recovery From Addiction- Know Its Effectiveness And Health Risks

Last updated on 04 Apr, 2024

12-step programs are some of the Recovery programs for helping a person with Alcoholism. These are certain principles based on spirituality and moral thinking written by Bil Wilson in 1938. These principles are laid down in a book named "Big Book" and are based on the observation of persons suffering from Alcoholism.

12-step programs are the principles that help people heal Substance Use disorder. When a person is into addiction, he loses control of his mind. 12-step programs are the 12 steps toward the recovery process based on high spiritual and moral thinking. This blog contains the purpose of the 12-step program, its history, and what laid to the creation of the 12 steps.

What Is The 12-Step Program?

People often suffer from substance use disorders, mental health conditions, and addictions. These programs help people achieve and maintain abstinence from substances of Abuse. Healing cannot prevail unless people with addictions surrender to a higher power.

The higher power can be as simple as the community of the 12-step meetings, the universe, or a different version of a higher power. The 12-step program is the most recommended one for the treatment of various types of Addiction.

According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services from 2013, 12-Step models are used, at least occasionally, by at least 74% of treatment centers (1).

The Purpose Of The 12 Steps Program

The main purpose of the 12 Steps Program is to establish guidelines for overcoming addiction to alcohol. The steps were created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. The steps gained enough success in the early years of its creation. Many addiction support groups adapted the steps to their specific addictive behavior or Substance abuse. There is no doubt that steps are based on spiritual principles. But many people who are nonreligious in nature also find it very useful (2).

12-Step AA Program

The 12-step program was first developed and used in order to overcome addiction and compulsions. The basic motto of the model is to help people achieve and maintain abstinence from Substances of Abuse. It was believed that healing could not occur unless people with addictions surrendered themselves to a higher power (1).

There are basic 12 steps adopted over time for the treatment of addiction or substance abuse. It is necessary for everyone to explore the steps in depth and observe the appliance in others' life.

The steps are applied for strength and hope for your own recovery. The steps are as follows:


Acceptance is the first step towards recovery. Friends and family can also be honest about their addiction and can help the person towards the recovery process.


The second and most important step toward recovery is belief. To believe that it can be cured is of utmost necessity for getting rid of alcoholism


Surrendering in front of others or admitting in front of friends and family. Considering that you are not alone is another step toward your recovery process.

Soul Searching:

Identifying their problems as well as recognizing their behavior with their surrounding.


This is the process of growth. In this process, you must admit your mistakes as well in front of your higher power.


The process of acceptance makes them stronger in front of others as well as oneself.


7th step is the process of taking advice from someone with a higher power. This is the process of asking where you know you cannot do it by your willpower or mere determination


This is the process where you make a list of the people you harmed.


This is the process where you start healing by forgiving people.


No one is ready to admit mistakes. But in the spiritual process of recovery, it is necessary for one to admit and maintain spiritual progress.

Contact making:

This is the process where you come to know about the plans of higher authority.


The last and foremost step is to take the learnings of the process and spread it to the surroundings (3).

History of 12 Step AA program

According to a 2010 study, it was noted that the 12-step program AA began in 1935. The co-founders of AA were Bob Smith and Bill Wilson. Wilson was the first one whom Smith helped recover from Alcoholism. It has now almost 2 million people in the world. More than 1.2 million people belong to the United Nations. Later in the 2000s, many other programs were followed and named after AA. Research from 2013 reports that Cocaine Anonymous was launched in 1982 In 2013, it had about 30,000 members and 2000 groups globally (4).

Bill Wilson wrote his observations of the people suffering from Alcoholism. The observations followed into a book named "Big Book". According to many historical sites, it was believed that the 12-step came from Christian Spirituality. The book was written as a guide for AA fellow members who could not attend the meetings (1).

The 12-Step Program For Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Narcotics Anonymous, since 1953, has used the same 12 Steps as AA. They use a text as their main guidebook of the 12-step program list book. Similar to AA, they do not require members to practice any particular faith. The primary difference between AA and NA is that the latter allows members to mention drug use, whereas many AA groups prefer drugs to remain unmentioned. Despite this difference, NA groups prefer that no drugs—including alcohol—be explicitly named during shares. Other minor differences include the use of the words “clean time” and “recovery” in place of “sobriety.” Thereby presenting a way of differentiating their program from AA and preserving their traditions. While NA is less common in treatment centers than AA, it has a lot of popularity in various recovery communities. It is more particularly those specializing in drug addiction treatment.

How long does a 12-step program last?

When you follow the 12-step program, the first step is to work with a sponsor. The sponsors encourage AA newcomers to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. Commitment should be the key as you are fighting the most difficult time for your recovery. Generally, the time period may vary from person to person. For some individuals, it might take 2-3 days, while in some, more than months or longer years. Your effort matters a lot more than your time(5).

Advantages and Disadvantages of 12-Step Recovery Programs

Participation in the 12-step AA programs can be beneficial as well as hold some negative impacts. Some of the advantages as well as disadvantages are listed below:


  1. A free resource for communities to address substance abuse problems.

  2. It is readily available for use.

  3. It is based on community.

  4. It encourages the members to take an active part in it.

  5. It offers both online and in-person options.


  1. Mental health conditions may make participation in the 12-step program more challenging.

  2. This approach holds full accountability for addiction and recovery of the individual.

  3. These steps may be less effective for certain groups like women, BIPOC, and sexual minorities.

  4. The pressure on the powerless can feel disempowering to some people.

  5. Emphasis on a higher power can remove some people.

  6. It does not address physical recovery such as drug, detox, and withdrawal.

Other Types Of 12-Step Programs

Apart from the 12-step program list for Alcoholics Anonymous, several other programs exist. For example, Heroin addicts (HA), Cocaine Addicts (CA), etc. Among the more common such programs are-

  • 12-step program SAA for sex addicts

  • A 12-step program for food addiction or overeaters (OA)

  • A 12-step program for codependency CoDA.

Some programs cater to the family members of addicts, the most common being ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) and rehab programs for addiction. If you or a family member struggle with a habit of any kind, the odds of finding a suitable 12-step program list are generally in your favor. Therefore, you can access many 12-step programs by attending treatment at a facility.

12 Steps Programs have been shown to be effective in treating addiction, including heroin addiction.In the article that we previously posted on our site, you can find more information regarding the treatment of heroin addiction.

Modalert 200mg: 12-step program alternatives


In many instances, addicts do not want to seek treatment that takes time. Modalert 200mg as an adjunctive treatment can be the right choice for such patients.

Modalert is a Nootropic that works by acting on the hypothalamus region of the human brain. It can be very effective in helping manage addiction in users. Moreover, the critical obstacle visible in people with addiction is relapse. The common cause of such symptoms in any form of addiction includes-

  • Withdrawal.

  • Poor self-care.

  • Uncomfortable Emotions.

  • Lack of dedication.

  • Boredom and Isolation.

Such people can enhance their focus and zeal to stay clean by improving their dedication and keeping distractions at bay with Modalert 200 mg. It also helps people achieve better attention, focus, and concentration by elevating the secretion of hormones in the brain. People can order Modalert with US-US delivery within five days from Healthmatter. We ensure customer satisfaction.

Our Final Thoughts: 12 Steps Recovery Programs: Does it work?

The 12-step recovery program is a program that holds 12 steps of spirituality. Bill Wilson made certain observations about people suffering from Alcoholism. These observations then led to a book, "Big Book." The 12-step program works for people suffering from alcoholism. There is no doubt that the 12-step program depends upon your behavioral approaches as well as your efforts. For some people, it might take years but for some, within a day or two. It holds a lot of advantages s well as disadvantages too.


Yes, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcoholics have seen improvement through the program when taken with primary treatments. This method provides support and motivation from peers to recover.

People with addiction issues who are determined to recover give time and dedication to the process and can experience effective results.

Yes. The 12-step program is effective, and the group welcomes people irrespective of their affiliations or non-affiliations to God. The only vital requirement is the desire to overcome addictions.

The basic concept in the method is mutual help and motivation to one another towards recovery from addictions.

The foremost step indicates accepting one’s flaws of addiction and conditions. Recognizing one’s shortcomings and faults will broaden the perspective to heal and improve.

Admitting your mistakes as well as accepting that you are not powerful. Hence our lives became unmanageable.

Generally, it holds 90 meetings for 90 days or 1 meeting for every 3 months.

They are very effective in aiding people on the road to recovery.

Bill Wilson, a former Alcoholics Anonymous wrote the 12 steps based on his observations which led to a 12-step action process.

The 12 steps were first laid down in a book named “Big Book”, written by Bill Wilson, an Alcoholic Anonymous.


  1.  12-step AA programs:12 steps tp Recovery for Addiction, American Addiction Center
  2. 12 step programs for Addiction Recovery, addiction center.
  3. 12 steps of Recovery, How these programs work? , verywellmind,
  4. What to know about the 12-step program, medical news today.

  5. How long does it take to go through the 12-steps of AA, soberaustin


Disclaimer: We do not provide any medical advice.

The contents of Healthma are for informational purpose only and is taken by a thorough evaluation of research papers and Journals. We do not provide professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. We advise all readers to consult a physician before consuming any medication mentioned on the website.