12 Step Programs For Addictions

brainscanThere’s a slightly insulting word that’s made its way into the language. A “stepper” is someone who is enrolled in a 12 step program for addiction. The negative spin is that they are seen as weak-willed or pushy about a cult-style self-help model. In some ways, those outside the movement think of anything labeled 12 step as another type of addiction instead of a treatment.

This stereotype has been made worse with the rise of a menu of 12 step programs – some that seem, from the outside, to be “non-addictions.” There are 12 step programs for sexual addiction, shopping addiction, and Internet addiction, to name just a few. Those who don’t suffer the cravings and inability to stop that mark addictive behavior are hard pressed to think of many as addictions at all.

The counterargument is that 12 step programs for addiction are not money making operations. The sole motivation is people who are suffering looking for a way to get better. From the inside, any addictive behavior can take over a person’s whole life. This is serious business. No one trying to kick a corrupting habit thinks of treatment as just a hobby. The needs are real.

The truth is that the 12 step model is broadly applicable across the spectrum of addiction types. Although it arose to deal with alcoholism, many of the aspects are shared with other unwanted and harmful behaviors. Slightly altering the wording of the original 12 steps can produce a structure helpful to many others.

The approach of relying on a higher power, either in a faith-based tradition or the group itself, give addicts a way to escape the trap of addiction. After all, they were led into the mess when they counted on themselves alone. As well as this, there are usually other resources on offer – a formal 12 step program can connect addicts to a variety of aid beyond the just the steps. If nothing else, allowing people to seek help from others with similar problems has merit.

While criticisms remain, the good that 12 step programs for addictions do outweighs any negative aspects.

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