12-step programs are based on a set of principles originally founded by Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by two men in post prohibition America who were hopeless alcoholics. Recognising that peer support was vital in their recovery, they set out to help reach out to other alcoholics and help them give up drinking.
12-step programs encourage a more spiritual approach to rehabilitation. They ask the participant to accept the presence of “higher force” in their life. Alcoholics Anonymous are often mistaken the thought of as a religious organisation. This is not the case. Atheists and nonbelievers have all successfully managed to achieve sobriety through 12-step programs. One of 12-step program speaks about God the use is the key phrase “as they understood him.” Some atheists use a higher force such as nature of the planetary system. God doesn’t necessarily mean a religious figure or other deity in the terminology of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The 12 steps may be modified by more modern programs part do principles remain the same. The 12 steps involve accepting powerlessness over addiction once the addict admits that they are powerless over the addiction they must be open to accept that the higher force in their life can help break them of the character flaws and destructive behaviours that characterise their addiction.
By turning their lives over to the higher force and practising a greater degree of spirituality, the 12 steps encourage self-reflection and addressing character flaws. The discipline of the 12-step program is required to make an inventory of all their good and bad points. They must seek to make ends that anyone they have hacked in the course of their drinking an alcoholic behaviour. Admitting and taking responsibility for their actions helps a recovering alcoholic a better sense of the damage their addiction has caused. Facing up to the past can help progress to a better future.
Carrying on the word of Alcoholics Anonymous and reaching out to fellow alcoholics is a requirement for on-going recovery as part of the 12-step program. A recovering alcoholic is uniquely placed to help someone who is still struggling with the addiction to alcohol. Relying on similar experiences and feelings they are able to provide a good mentor for someone father back on the road to recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous believes that rehabilitation should be available to everyone and ask for no membership fees or dues. They also have a limit on how much one member can donate in a year and a maximum on how much someone can leave them in their will. AA don’t accept donations from outside donors and any sent to their HQ are politely returned with a note explaining their stance on donations from non-members. Alcoholics Anonymous are a non-profit making organisation and seek to be fully autonomous.
12-step programs usually involve weekly meetings where members of the Fellowship share their feelings and experiences. The only requirement that AA does place on membership is a genuine desire to give up drinking. Without a true wish to give up alcohol any attempts at rehabilitation are likely to be futile.