It is a very difficult process to break an addiction; however, people who are working toward recovery often find that the support of others, coupled with a structured plan for recovery, is the best route for them to take. There are many different 12 Step programs that exist to help people work toward their goals.

What Are 12 Step Programs?

While the methodology of each program differs, the purpose of a 12 step program is always the same –to help people struggling with addiction. The process includes different steps and goals that each member adheres to and accomplishes. According to the American Psychological Association, some common steps in the twelve-step process include:

  • admitting that one cannot control one’s alcoholism, addiction or compulsion
  • recognizing a higher power that can give strength
  • examining past mistakes with the help of a sponsor (experienced member)
  • making amends for these errors
  • learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior
  • helping others who suffer from the same alcoholism, addictions, or compulsions

The First 12 Step Program

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), founded in 1935, was the first twelve-step program ever created. The steps, which are very similar to ones already mentioned, were put in place at that time. In 1946, twelve traditions were created that governed how groups functioned and related to each other as membership was quickly growing. Traditions included the practice of anonymity by only using one’s first name and the tradition of “singleness of purpose.” The latter tradition meant that AA would have “but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” As such, this precluded attendance by anyone who did not suffer from alcohol misuse and resulted in the formation of other 12 step programs.

Other Types of 12 Step Programs

Because Alcoholics Anonymous was exclusive to people who struggled with alcohol addiction, a vast array of other programs were formed to aid and support those in recovery from other addictive disorders. These include the following groups:

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.