By: Ava
February 8, 2019

What’s the Difference Between 12 Step & Non-12 Step Rehabs?

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For those suffering from addiction, it can be difficult to find the right program that will help you on the road to recovery. The prevalence of alcohol and drugs in our culture has been on the rise for years, causing addiction to become one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States. Luckily, there are many programs for substance abuse treatment, and more and more people are discovering programs that work for them.

However, comparing addiction treatment programs can be tricky, especially when it comes to understanding the details of different popular methods. Below, we go into depth on two popular categories for addiction treatment: 12 Step and Non-12 Step treatment schools.

The 12 Step Method of Addiction Recovery

While it is one of the most popular methods for addiction recovery, the 12 Step method can still be misunderstood. 12 Step drug rehabs use a structured method of peer support groups and self-help methods to address ideas of acceptance, surrender, and participation. Some of the most popular organizations to use this approach are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While not all recovery centers necessarily utilize the 12 Step method the same way, many tend to utilize a spiritual, not-religious, approach to the 12 steps.

Below are the 12 steps that Alcoholics Anonymous uses:

  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.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

One of the many goals of groups that utilize the 12 step method is to encourage long-term participation in support groups. These programs have been popular for many years, showing that they can be effective. For many, a structured method and continuous support in the recovery process can be just what they need to remain sober. However, this method does not take in to account an individualized approach for addiction recovery, which can be even more effective.

What Do Non-12 Step Rehabs Offer?

Generally speaking, non-12 Step rehabilitation includes any method other than the 12 step method as described above. Many of the non-12 Step treatment programs emphasize an individualized approach to recovery over a social and group-based support system. One popular example of non-12 Step treatment includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is a technique often used in other types of emotional and behavioral therapy and involves taking a look at the thoughts and behaviors that lead one to pick up drugs or alcohol. Pharmacotherapy is another example of a non-12 Step rehabilitation method. This method involves using safe medications in small doses to aid in the withdrawal process for those addicted to certain drugs, like opioids, alcohol, or benzos.

Non-12 step rehab programs not only utilize a wide variety of personalized approaches to recovery but also tend to have residential treatment facilities with a focus on easing the pain of addiction recovery, every step of the way.

Comparing Addiction Treatment Programs: Which is Right for You

So the question is: which is better, 12 step or non-12 step rehabs? While it is difficult to give a concrete answer to this question, seeing as different people find recovery in different ways, more and more people are seeing progress with a more individualized approach to recovery used in conjunction with 12-step programs for long-term success.

Many non-12 step methods not only provide an individualized roadmap to recovery but also provide social accountability groups like 12 Step methods do. However, rather than trying to decide which method is the best overall, one should judge which method is best for them. Some choose based on the ideas and goals that resonate with them, while others will keep trying new methods until something finally “works”.

Many who believe in a higher power might find comfort in the 12 step method, though a religious concept of “God” is not pushed. There are other people who are more likely to find their path with an alternative method. The best you can do is be open to learning about the variety of treatment programs available and stay optimistic on your road to recovery.

Here at Multi Concept Recovery, we offer both 12 Step and non-12 Step treatment options which allows our clients the power of choice in addiction treatment. Call us today at 1-866-816-7598 and get started finding your own path to recovery from drug & alcohol abuse.