Futures Recovery Healthcare

10 Different Twelve Step Programs and How Each Can Help with Getting Sober


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Sobriety today can be a challenge. Not only do those struggling with addiction need to find the will to get help and stop, but they also need the tools and support to sustain recovery long term. For many who undertake this journey, 12 Step programs provide the much-needed support and help they need to achieve long-lasting recovery from drugs or alcohol. 

Most people who have been around addiction treatment programs or recovery from alcohol or drugs have heard of some type of 12 Step program. However, many people, even those with many years of sobriety, don’t know fully just how many 12 Step programs there are. a

12 Step programs can be of great help for not only an individual with addiction but also for family and loved ones of those with addiction. As it’s said, addiction is a family disease. In order to enjoy life in recovery, one must find the tools necessary to achieve long-lasting sobriety. 12 Step programs can help to support that aim. 

At Futures Recovery Healthcare 12 Step programs are just one of the evidence-based tools we use to help people with substance use disorders and mental health disorders to recover. 

Discover the 10 Most Utilized 12 Step Programs 

There are more than ten, 12 Step programs, however, for this discussion, we will discuss the 10 most well known and utilized. The premise for these groups is based on the principles of the first of these groups, Alcoholics Anonymous or AA as it’s known. 

Serving as support group meetings, these are ‘member run’ meetings and all participants from those who organize and run the meetings to those who attend are there on a voluntary basis. The principles are to help individuals recover from addictive, compulsive, or other behavioral issues, 

1. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Alcoholics Anonymous was the first 12 Step program. Started in the 1930s by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, or Dr. Bob, as he is known, this program released the ‘Big Book’ or Alcoholic Anonymous book in 1939. This book and the steps and principles found within are the guiding principles not only for AA but for all of the 12 Step programs. 

AA is a support group meeting for individuals struggling with alcoholism. These meetings, some closed and some open, are for anyone with the desire to stop drinking. That means that those who attend don’t have to be sober to attend but must have the desire to stop drinking. 

These meetings typically have a speaker who talks about their experience with alcohol, the strength they found to seek sobriety, and how their lives are today in recovery. Meetings usually involve a combination of the speaker’s story and then time for those in the group to speak or ‘share’. 

In addition, meetings can be on certain topics, literature approved by AA may be read, and discussions follow. These meetings enable people who are struggling with the same type of addiction to discuss their issues and challenges and then support each other in ways to apply the 12 Steps to each situation. 

The 12 Steps as outlined in the Big Book of AA are as follows:

The 12 Steps, as originally written, are as such:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. 
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  4. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 
  5. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 
  6. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 
  7. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. 
  8. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 
  9. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 
  10. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 
  11. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

These 12 Steps (and the associated 12 Principles) are the basis of AA and many other 12 Step programs. 

2. Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)
ACA or ACOA is for those individuals who grew up in alcoholic homes or those with other addictions or dysfunction. Formed in 1973, this group is for those who desire to recover from the adverse effects of growing up in an alcoholic home. 

3. Al-Anon and Alateen
Alanon and Alateen are for those who have family members and friends with addiction. Generally associated with AA, this 12 Step program also utilizes the 12 Steps and principles used in AA to offer a program of recovery to the family and friends of alcoholics and those with other addictions. This group was started in 1951 to provide a worldwide fellowship for these individuals. 

4. Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
This 12 Step program began in 1982 for those individuals with drug addiction problems. Unaffiliated with AA, this group follows similar principles as AA including using AA’s Big Book complemented by the CA Storybook, Hope, Faith, and Courage: Stories from the Fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous. While most members have an issue with cocaine, crack, speed, or similar substances, having an issue with one of these is not required. 

5. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)
This group, founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1976 by a member of AA, provides support based on the same principles as AA for those who have a sex or love addiction. In this group, members define their ‘bottom line behaviors’. Abstinence from these behaviors—which change over time—is encouraged for all. 

The group publishes the book, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and is approved for use in their fellowship. 

6. Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
Founded in 1957 for those with compulsive gambling issues, this 12 Step program was also founded by a member of AA. Today, GA is in all of the United States as well as some other countries like Japan, Ireland, Australia, Kenya, Mexico, and more. 

7. Gam-Anon and Gamateen
Both of these groups are for those individuals who have family or friends with a compulsive gambling issue. Based on the same principles as Al-Anon and Alateen, these groups encourage recovery from the issues caused by having a loved one who is a compulsive gambler. 

8. Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
This fellowship was formed in 1953 to help those recover from addiction to drugs. After AA, this group is the second most well known and attended the 12 Step program. This group uses a 12 Step model as their program for recovery and is now found in 144 countries with more than 70,000 meetings. 

9. Naranon
This program, officially called Nar-anon Family Groups, is for those who have been affected by a friend or family member’s addiction. This group runs similar to Alanon groups and utilizes a 12 Step model for recovery. 

10. Overeaters Anonymous (OA)
Another 12 Step program based on the principles of AA, this group was founded in 1960 and is a fellowship for anyone who has a problem with food including those with compulsive eating disorders, binge eating issues, anorexia, and bulimia. Membership was estimated at 60,000 members in 75 different countries. 

As you can see, there are many 12 Step programs each aimed to support individuals in recovery from various addictions as well as help family members and loved ones. This list of 10 discusses the most popular 12 Step programs however, there are many more. 

From CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA) and Marijuana Anonymous (MA) to Survivors of Incest Anonymous (SIA) and Workaholics Anonymous (WA), there is a 12 Step program for some of the most common addictions and issues. 

These groups provide immeasurable support and are essential for many people to maintain their recovery once they leave treatment or if they haven’t attended treatment. It’s important to note that statistics show that those who seek treatment for an addiction, specifically an alcohol or substance use issue, at specialized addiction treatment centers have a greater chance of sustained recovery than those who don’t attend treatment. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with an alcohol or drug dependency or have an eating disorder, Futures is here to help. At Futures, we understand how important it is to find the right treatment program that meets each individual’s unique recovery needs. Our admissions team works to find the right match for all who call us for help. 

At Futures, we not only have three different addiction treatment programs, Core, Orenda, and Rise, we also have a mental health treatment program. This enables us to tailor our holistic, evidence-based treatment programs for individuals with unique needs such as first responders or athletes. 

How to Get Help for Addiction

Taking the first step and reaching out for help is often the most difficult. But, as many who now live full and happy lives in recovery will tell you, it was well worth it. While there are some common signs and symptoms of addiction, only you can decide if you need and want help. 

If you find that you (or your loved ones) days and weeks seem to center around drinking alcohol or using a substance—illicit or prescription—then a problem may be at hand. Other signs include trying to stop or cut down but are unsuccessful, lying about how much or how often you drink or consume drugs, giving up hobbies and activities you used to enjoy to drink or use drugs, and feeling symptoms of withdrawal when you aren’t drinking or using the drug. 

While this is not an all-inclusive list of symptoms, many individuals who have an alcohol used disorder (AUD) or substance use disorder (SUD) experience many of these listed above. 

If you or a loved one want to learn more about our evidence-based, holistic, compassionate treatment programs at Futures contact us today either online or call 866-804-2098.


Our specialized staff stands ready to help you through this challenging time.

call now CALL NOW
(866) 351-7588
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