Why 12 Step Groups are Especially Effective for Teens

12 step programs have been around since the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous in the early 1900s. One of the reasons that 12 step programs continue to be one of the leading methods of substance abuse and addiction treatment is the fact that they are successful. This is particularly true in teens. To understand why 12 step groups are especially effective for teens, there are a three aspects of them that need to be understood. These are their nature as a peer support network, their adaptability, and their use throughout life.

Peer Support

Perhaps the most important aspect that leads to success of 12 step programs, especially in teens, is the fact that it is a peer support network. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the majority of addiction treatment programs stress the necessity of group therapy and support. Because teens are particularly effected by social standing and peer pressure, this creates a unique situation with many benefits. Some of the benefits to teens include:

  • a social group that is sober,
  • a group of people that understand what they are going through,
  • people that they can relate to, and talk to in times of crisis, and
  • being around other people that serve as good examples of recovery and sobriety.

All of these benefits contribute to the efficacy of 12 step programs in teens.


teen 12 step meetings

Teen 12 step programs offer online meetings.

Another aspect of 12 step programs that makes them so effective for teens is their adaptability. Teens are not adults, and what works for adults may not work for teens. Thus, adaptations must be made to cater to the specific needs of teens. According to the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, there are a number of adaptations that have been made to the traditional 12 step programs, in order to make them more relevant to teens. These include:

  • meetings that are only for teens,
  • online meetings,
  • chat, text, and phone support for teens in 12 step programs,
  • assigned sponsors to help teens overcome anxiety and attend meetings, and
  • changes in the wording of the steps to empower and encourage teens in their pursuit of sobriety.

These adaptations have led to 12 step programs helping teens achieve and maintain recovery from substance abuse or addiction.

Life Long Help

The third aspect of 12 step programs that makes them so effective for teens is their life long approach. The very nature of 12 step programs contributes to the concept of support and help for however long it is needed. Because addiction is a chronic disease, this means that the support network developed in the teen years will still be there to help the individual later in life. This creates peace of mind and encouragement for teens that are facing the long and difficult road to recovery.

If a teen you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, it is imperative that you get help now. Early intervention can mean the difference between recovery and defeat. Everyone deserves a life free from the constraints of addiction, and filled with hope for the future, especially teens. Every teen should have the chance for a drug free life, for more information on 12 step programs for teens call us at 1-800-895-1695.

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