Can 12 Step Programs be Bad for You?
Success or failure in addiction treatment is ultimately the responsibility of the person seeking treatment. Addiction is a complicated disease, and no one treatment program is right for everyone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost all addiction treatment programs call for participation in group therapy, such as a 12 step program. But, you may wonder if a 12 step program can be bad for you.
Misconceptions and the Truth
Many misconceptions keep people away from 12 step programs, and limit their effectiveness. Here are some of those misconceptions, and the truth about them.
- 12 step groups are a religious cult. – While the traditional 12 steps do incorporate a number of religious principles, there is no obligation to believe. In addition to this, there are a growing number of 12 step programs for those with faiths other than Christianity, including:
o Native Americans,
o humanists, and
- 12 step groups are only for alcoholics or addicts. – No 12 step group requires its members to label themselves. Whether or not they identify as an alcoholic or addict is up to them. Also, there are a number of 12 step groups for other things, including:
o sex addiction,
o compulsive shopping, and
- 12 step programs are full of criminals and losers. – No one is immune to the disease of addiction. The wide popularity of 12 step programs means that all manner of people seeking help with their addiction may attend. While this may include those convicted of crimes, it also includes:
o police officers,
o politicians, and
- 12 step programs do not work. – According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, success in 12 step programs is directly related to participation and staying in the program. Essentially, if you stay in the program and work the steps you will have success.
Understanding the truth about these misconceptions makes it possible to enter into 12 step treatment with an open mind, and gives you the ability to focus on your recovery.
Why 12 Step Programs Work
The reason that 12 step programs work is the very nature of what they are. Namely, a fellowship of people with similar experiences, helping one another to achieve sobriety. This idea of helping one another creates some unique benefits, including:
- building a support network,
- positive communication,
- a new group of friends that support your sobriety, and
- a forum to express fears, problems, and feelings related to addiction.
All of these benefits contribute to the likelihood of successfully recovering from addiction.
Seeking Help is Never Bad
If you, or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, it is important that you get help. Ignoring the disease will not make it go away. 12 step programs have been very successful for many people for a long period of time. Even if a 12 step program is not your first choice, or you don’t think that it can work for you, you may be surprised. Entering into a 12 step program will not make the problem worse, and will very likely improve it. If you or someone you know is in need of a 12 step program or can benefit from the 12 step philosophy call us at 1-800-895-1694. We can help.