What Is a 12-Step Integration Program?

Learn about 12-Step integration programs, substance use treatment resources, and their effectiveness in addiction treatment.

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What Is a 12-Step Integration Program?

A 12-Step integration program combines the 12-Step program with other treatment methods. Many experts have recognized the 12-Step program as an effective treatment strategy for drug or alcohol addiction.

Combining the traditional 12-Step program with other treatment methods can increase the likelihood of success and helps guide individuals during recovery and maintain a substance-free lifestyle. In addition, 12-Step integration programs provide additional education, counseling, and life skills training.

12-Step Program

12-Step Integration Program Meaning

A 12-Step integration program means integrating the twelve steps to recovery along with other treatment methods, such as a recovery program at a drug treatment center. Integrating both the 12-Step program and other treatments helps increase the chance of success during treatment.

Purpose of 12-Step Programs

The purpose of a 12-Step program is to create a sense of community through shared group experiences and implement a structured guide for group members to follow as they work towards long-term recovery from addiction. Community aspects of the 12-Step program can be useful since group members can provide each other with support and guidance to pursue a common goal of continued sobriety.

12-Step Program History

Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith created the original 12-Step program. While Wilson and Smith both struggled with alcohol addiction, Wilson found sobriety just before meeting Smith through spirituality and actively teaching sobriety to others. Soon after, Smith found sobriety and they both began curating a treatment plan to help recover from alcohol use disorder.

In 1939, Wilson published the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous and, with the help of Dr. Robert Smith, founded the 12-Step program. Eventually, the book and the Alcoholics Anonymous program became a success and is one of the most well-known recovery programs to this day.

Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-Step alcohol recovery program that helps those struggling with alcohol addiction. The AA 12-Step recovery program is one of the most popular treatment programs for alcohol addiction. It is designed to build a sense of community and structure while recovering and maintaining sobriety. By following the program, members can learn effective steps to recovery that have helped many people over the years.1

How Long is a 12-Step Program?

Most AA sponsors will encourage new members to attend ninety meetings in ninety days. 2 Those first three months are crucial for new members who are first getting sober, so regularly attending meetings will help new members stay on track.

After the first ninety days, regularly attending AA meetings is still recommended. How often and how long someone will continue attending AA meetings after the initial ninety days will depend on the individual and their personal needs. This is why AA recommends working with a sponsor who can help guide members and advise what they feel works best.

How Effective Are 12-Step Programs?

According to research studies conducted by the Stanford School of Medicine, AA programs have proven to be an effective method for treating alcohol addiction. These studies concluded that AA is 60% more effective compared to other interventions that can be used to treat alcohol addiction. 3

Experts have found that the 12-Step program’s effectiveness is mainly due to the social interaction between group members. Being part of a group helps keep AA members on track and feel a sense of accountability within the program.

12-Step Program Criticism

Although a 12-Step recovery program can be very effective, it still has some criticisms that may turn people away. General criticisms of the 12-Step rehab program are confidentiality and cultural identity.

Confidentiality

Although 12-Step recovery programs are known for their anonymity, hence the names Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), many people still criticize the confidentiality of the program.

Anyone can attend and participate in a 12-Step rehab program at any time. These programs are meant to be open to anyone who would like to join. However, this can make local 12-Step program meetings less anonymous since those attending may run into or be recognized by other people they know.

Cultural identity

12-Step addiction programs also receive criticisms about their cultural identity. The 12 steps of AA and NA meetings have many religious and spiritual beliefs built into them. For those who aren’t religious or spiritual, these aspects of a 12-Step program can turn them away.

12-Step Program Pros and Cons

When looking into a 12-Step program for drug addiction, there are both pros and cons to consider.

12-Step Program Pros

Pros of joining a 12-Step program:

  • Helps destigmatize drug addiction through shared experiences
  • Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Helps people gain responsibility
  • Creates a reliable outlet through regular group meetings
  • Group meetings create a sense of belonging
  • Group members lend mutual support to one another on their path to recovery
  • Helps members accept their problem with drugs and take steps to recover
  • Involvement in a positive community that is working towards a common goal
  • Anyone can join a 12-Step program for free

12-Step Program Cons

Drawbacks of 12-Step programs include: 4

  • 12-Step meetings can be time-consuming, taking up one or two hours per meeting
  • Even after achieving sobriety, 12-Step programs still keep drugs and alcohol at the center of someone’s life
  • Insists that members call themselves an addict, which some can find demeaning
  • Neglects any medical advice or support that may be needed during detox
  • Religious aspects turn people away
  • Requires social involvement that might make some people uncomfortable
  • Some people dislike continually hearing bad stories about other people’s experiences with drugs or alcohol
  • Some people feel that 12-Step programs make people rely on the group rather than learning to self-manage their addiction
  • Some say the 12-Steps feel overly negative, such as saying they are powerless over their addiction
12 step recovery program

12-Step Program for Alcohol and Drug Treatment

Many options are available for those looking for a 12-Step program for alcohol or drug treatment. A simple search for “12-step program near me” can help anyone find resources available in their area. In addition, contacting a local drug treatment center may be beneficial when searching for further support.

Find 12-Step Support Near Houston

If you are searching for a 12-Step program or rehab program near Houston, Texas, Great Oaks Recovery Center can help.

12-Step Program and its Alternatives for Addiction Recovery at Great Oaks

Great Oaks Recovery Center offers a wide range of rehab programs for drug and alcohol addiction. Great Oaks takes an integrated approach that combines various methods, such as the 12-Steps, with other forms of recovery to help clients get the best possible results.

All treatment programs at Great Oaks are evidence-based and carefully designed to fit each client’s personal needs. The treatment staff at Great Oaks is friendly, well-educated, and will be there every step of the way to provide additional support and guidance.

Other programs available through Great Oaks include detoxification, residential treatment, the family program, and the ready-to-work program. These programs can be built around clients’ needs and are proven to provide long-lasting recovery. After finishing a treatment program at Great Oaks, continuing care is also available to help clients transition back into everyday life.

Getting help

If you have additional questions or want to learn how you can get started today, you can contact Great Oaks at (877) 977-3268 for more information.

Resources

  1. https://www.aa.org/the-twelve-steps
  2. https://www.12step.com/articles/how-long-will-it-take-me-to-work-through-all-12-steps
  3. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2020/03/alcoholics-anonymous-most-effective-path-to-alcohol-abstinence.html
  4. https://addictioneducationsociety.org/12-step-program-pros-and-cons/

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.

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