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AA 12 Step vs. Non 12 Step

people discussion aa 12 step vs non 12 step

12 Step Recovery programs are geared to those facing addiction that have trouble controlling their substance abuse. AA 12 Step programs help individuals self reflect and examine themselves while commiting to therapy in a larger overarching spiritual way. A key part in AA programs is the acknowledgement of control of a higher power. That being said 12 Step programs aren’t for everyone and we will cover the 12 steps of AA and some non religious 12 step alternatives.

What is the 12 Step Program

AA 12 Step Programs are part of a nationwide program that focuses on community programming and support groups to help those struggling with alcohol use disorders. 12 Step AA gives individuals the chance to be in a group that faces similar struggles and works through addiction together and helps people find lasting recovery from alcoholism and maintain sobriety. It is premised around the thought that alcoholism is deeply rooted and inorder to find lasting recovery it is beneficial to coalesce with a support group to stay focused on your recovery journey.

Steps of AA 12 Step Program

The 12 Step approach to AA has a road map that is designed to resemble “steps” toward the goal of recovery. Members learn the steps, personal tools and resilience methods at each step that can be revisited throughout their life. The Steps of AA include:

  1. The client Admits that Alcohol has made life unmanageable and alcohol has an unwieldy hold in their lives.
  2. Come to believe that a power greater than us can help restore our lives.
  3. Make a decision to turn our lives over to the will of a higher power to help restore our lives and grace with them.
  4. Be relentlessly honest and focused on improving ones faults.
  5. Admit to God, ourselves, and others our wrongdoings and how we can change.
  6. We are accepting of a higher power to help remove flaws from our character.
  7. Humbly ask for forgiveness of our pitfalls.
  8. Make a list of those negatively affected by your actions, and attempt to make amends.
  9.   Facilitate direct amends whenever it is possible
  10. Continue to take personal inventory and admit wrong behavior.
  11. Continue in prayer to find deeper relationships with higher power and how we understand its involvement in our lives.
  12. Have a spiritual awakening by going through the steps whilst finding ways to combat alcoholism and uplift others.

Non 12 Step Recovery Programs

Even though 12 step programs are extremely effective, not everyone is suited for them. Many people who find themselves to be less spiritual a 12 step AA program will not be as effective at treating the root cause of their drug addiction. Very often people prefer treatment based on their lifestyle and a more flexible approach to recovery.

Many people who want alternatives to the 12 Step method have usually either tried it or do not feel the necessity to bring in a spiritual element into their recovery. It is best noted that no single addiction treatment program is best for everyone. Addiction is a diverse and complicated disorder and each program should be individualized and implemented in a way that is tailored to the person seeking recovery.

Difference Between 12 Step and Non 12 Step AA

  • The 12 Step program is centered around God, whereas non 12 step methods will cover different lifestyle aspects.
  • 12 Step AA programs emphasize that you are powerless in addiction and that God is the only way to help you continually work on the chronic issue of substance abuse. Where as 12 step programs seek to empower oneself in recovery
  • 12 Step programs focus on individuals character defects and flaws that must be rectified during the process
  • Non-12-step programs focus on expanding one’s own knowledge and independence, fostering empowerment through education and therapy.
  • Non-12-step programs rely on scientific approaches that can be changed according to individual needs. Unlike 12-step programs, which follow a consistent doctrine.

12 Step Program Non-Religious

People that attend non 12 step meetings are not always atheists or agnostic; often they just want an addiction treatment program separate from their relationship with God or they want a more empowering form of help. Belief in a higher power is not always necessary in finding lasting recovery..Oftentimes people choose non 12 step programs because they want the autonomy and control of their treatment and feeling. Very often non religious support groups are more focused on lifestyles, personal choices, and finding ways to empower oneself in recovery 

Some non-religious 12 step programs still follow a similar structure but do not include the relationship with god. One example being SMART Recovery groups, this is similar to the 12 step model but does not encourage submission to a higher power.

Frost Anderson
Author: Frost Anderson