12 Step Treatment and Rehabs – What You Should Know

There are several different types of treatment options for a person with an addiction. One of these is the 12 step philosophy which is used by about 74% of rehabs. The basic idea of the 12 steps is to help people realise they can reach out to other men and women to help maintain a healthy sobriety. To help you understand the value and importance of 12 steps, we’ve broken the methodology down into the basic points and principals.

A Brief History of AA

Acting as a “guideline for a total personality transformation”, the original concept off the 12 step treatment model was developed in 1938. Founder Bill Wilson who had his own bout with alcoholism and had been writing and developing his approach to sobriety which largely consisted of sharing stories with one another. Eventually, he wrote all of his thoughts down into what is now called The Big Book. Acting as a guide for people who could not initially attend the 12 step meetings, this book became a foundation for addiction treatment. It has now been adopted and modified into rehab programmes around the world. In addition to the 12 step AA meetings, there are various offshoots including Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.

Surrendering to a Higher Power

In the 12 steps, you may hear that healing cannot evolve without surrendering to a higher power. This does not mean “God”, but can be anything which you trust. There are some AA followers who surrender to the fact they can not control their addiction on their own; others surrender to the Universe and some to nature. It’s a common misconception that this higher power has to be religious based; this is simply untrue.

Flourishing in the 12 Step Model

The 12 steps are set on a belief that people can help one another and maintain sobriety from alcohol, drugs or other substances. They do this through meetings, advice and group support. Recently the journal  on Addiction Research and Theory stated that abstinence, as promoted by 12 step programs, accounts for what the researchers call “flourishing”. This is in which a person improves their mental health and thereby is more successful with a long term recovery.

The 12 Steps

There are several variations of the 12 steps; however, the following are those which are outlined in the Big Book and noted on the official AA website.

  • Admitting powerlessness over the addiction
  • Believing that a higher power (in whatever form) can help
  • Deciding to turn control over to the higher power
  • Taking a personal inventory
  • Admitting to the higher power, oneself, and another person the wrongs done
  • Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character
  • Asking the higher power to remove those shortcomings
  • Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs
  • Contacting those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person
  • Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong
  • Seeking enlightenment and connection with the higher power via prayer and meditation
  • Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need

Modifications in 12 Step Rehab Programs

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that short term rehab programs, 1-3 months, based upon a 12 step treatment and follow up 12 step support groups, like AA, helps a person to develop structure and better maintain long term recovery.

Nowadays, it’s common for private rehabs to incorporate 12 step ideas into the program, but not follow each step word for word. The idea behind this is in the hope that people in recovery will continue to be actively engaged in 12 step methodology and support groups when they return home. Rehabs may also use the 12 steps as a foundation because of the sheer amount of results proven research backing this methodology. However, they may eliminate any spiritual aspect of the 12 step program leaving an encompassing model of care.

How Siam Rehab Uses a 12 Step Treatment Approach

In Thailand, our rehab programme is based upon the 12 steps and combined with other traditional and alternative therapies. Treatment may begin with an initial detoxification which is monitored and guided by medical professionals. Once a person is ready, we’ll begin to implement a structured multidisciplinary programme which will help the individual to build their own foundation of long term recovery. Therapists, counsellors, group sessions and even fitness activities will slowly guide the person through the steps. This will allow them to understand the repercussions of their addiction as well as, gain access into what could be the core reason(s) for using. Towards the end of this Thailand rehab program, individuals will have the knowledge to put everything they have learned into practice, ultimately living a happy, productive life. This innovative approach to addiction treatment allows us to treat the whole person, rather than only the addiction.