What to Do When 12 Step Treatment isn’t Working

Since 1935, 12 step programs have been a staple of addiction treatment. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12 step program works for most people. Unfortunately, it does not work for everyone. As each person is different, each addiction is different. A single treatment is not going to work out for everyone. Therefore, what do you do when your 12 step treatment is not working for your addiction.

Talk to your Sponsor

Each member of a 12 step program should have a sponsor to help them through the rough spots. Most sponsors have been in the program a while and understand both the philosophy and the practice of the 12 step program. They can help, when your resolve is weakening. They have been there are know what you are going through. They can help you with each of the steps and explain the issues in doing them.

Sponsors can help most people through the problems that they are experiencing. These problems are usually not unique and many people have been through them before. Most problems are solvable through talking to your sponsor.

Start the 12 Steps Over

Treatment isn't Working

Your sponsor should be able to help you with any problems you’re facing in the program.

Sometimes, particularly during a relapse, you might need to start the 12 steps over. Although this might seem like a step in the wrong direction, it is not necessarily true. Starting the 12 steps over helps you learn them and you can try to make them work. Relapse is a natural part of addiction. Most people who need addiction treatment wind up relapsing at least once.

Starting over should not be seen as a failure but an opportunity to learn and begin again. Many parts of addiction treatment are about renewal.

Consider other Forms of Treatment

If you do not feel comfortable with 12 step treatment and meetings, there are other forms of treatment available that offer the same sense of community and help. Most other forms of treatment work with 12 step programs if there are parts of the 12 step program that are helping.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment is compatible with most 12 step programs. During inpatient treatment, you stay at the facility and receive a variety of forms of counseling and medical care. During outpatient treatment, you visit the treatment center at regular intervals and receive care while you are there.

Some of the treatment types available at both inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities are:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Medication management
  • Medication to help relieve withdrawal symptoms
  • 12 step counseling
  • Holistic therapies
  • Herbal treatments
  • Dietary counseling
  • Exercise
  • Other forms of therapy depending on the facility

These other options can be combined with 12 step treatment or completed without the 12 step philosophy.

HAMS an Alternative to 12 Step Programs?

Ask for Help

If your current 12 step program is not working or you feel as if you are going to relapse, you should seek an alternative treatment as soon as possible. For more information on alternatives to 12 step programs call us at 1-800-895-1695.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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