Drug addiction treatment can be a critical time in a person’s life. Many who want to recover must remain determined, and with the aid of other well-intentioned doctors and family members, they can regain their health. While no single stand-alone treatment for addiction has been established, a spiritual intervention in the form of twelve steps has shown to be highly effective. This paper looks at the programs’ past, how they’ve influenced drug care over time, and how important they are in modern medicine.
Ebby, T, a childhood acquaintance, paid Bill W, a retired banker, a courtesy visit in the late days of 1934. Bill anticipated that they would go out that day and share good moments drinking somewhere, as they usually did, but Ebby was already a changed man. He had already found a new life in sobriety and it was his wish that his friends share the experience. Surpassing through numerous temptations and challenges, bill and another friend Dr. Bob embraced the newfound life, and founded the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in June 1935. AA was a spiritual principle outlined in twelve steps. From then, many treatment caretakers embraced twelve step programs in attaining recovery from other types of addiction different than alcohol. The original steps are still applicable although they were edited to diminish the reverence for God and instead refer to a ‘higher power’ (Laudet, Morgen, & White, 2006).
After the 12 steps were made public, they were enfolded as an effective method of addiction recovery by diverse groups of people including psychiatrists, medical doctors, and religious groups. Once a member works successively with a sponsor, the members of AA take the message to other people and hence acting as sponsors themselves. Even though AA keeps no records of their members, estimates indicate that by 2013, over a million Americans were participants in about 50000 groups and that over five million people participate in at least one meeting a year (Galanter, 2007). Success rates of AA are estimated at 15% meaning that 15 out of one hundred people can overcome addiction after undergoing the program. Currently, about two-thirds of addiction recovery programs make use of the twelve steps either in full or in part (Laudet et al., 2006).
One website defines addiction as a “primary, chronic disease,” with “characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations” (“American Society,” (n.d., para. 1). Therefore, without treatment, addiction degenerates into a more serious medical problem. It is therefore mandatory for any individual seeking delivery from addiction to undergo treatment to alleviate imminent death. According to American society website (n.d.) one present-day empirically proven practice is the Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy. In this practice, the therapist works hand in hand with the patient explaining and encouraging, adherence and persistence in gathering, pointing out the benefits of remaining in the program. The practice examines psychological obstacles to participation, helps the patient to go through the actual steps, enhances the mutual relationship between the patient and the sponsor and gives a leeway to AA-relates tasks such as joining a retreat associated with AA. Laudet et al. (2006) reiterate that addiction medicine and psychiatry practitioners should give psychosocial therapies equal attention as the biological innervations.
In conclusion, it should be pointed out that the 12 twelve steps are an alternative to other addiction recovery programs and should be used by those who prefer them and not necessarily those who need recovery. While many professionals see it as a spiritual intervention and therefore should be used sparingly in professional practice, others recommend it as an essential part of the path to recovery. It is an appreciated fact that the 12 steps may have some harmful effects on the users. For instance, the programs require that one should acknowledge powerlessness to gain deliverance. This concept may make one remain permanently trapped in addiction, especially those who fail at the start of the program.
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2017, from
Galanter, M. (2007). Spirituality and recovery in 12-step programs: An empirical model. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 33(3), 265-272.
Laudet, A. B., Morgen, K., & White, W. L. (2006). The role of social supports, spirituality,
religiousness, life meaning and affiliation with 12-step fellowships in quality of life satisfaction among individuals in recovery from alcohol and drug problems. Alcoholism treatment quarterly, 24(1-2), 33-73.