What is a 12 step addiction programme

Step 3 of the 12 Steps of Addiction


A 12 step addiction programme is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. Originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a method of recovery from alcoholism, the 12 step addiction programme was first published in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. As summarized by the American Psychological Association, the process involves the following:

  • admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion;
  • recognizing an alternative higher power that can help to create strength;
  • examining past behaviours with the help of a counsellor and sponsor (experienced member);
  • making gradual amends for these behaviours;
  • learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
  • Helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.

OUR FIRST WORK: Our very first work in a 12 step addiction programme is the following. WE ADMIT WE HAVE A PROBLEM, BEFORE WE TRY AND SOLVE IT! DENIAL MAKES THIS TOUGH.


Recovery is sought in several areas: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The 12 step addiction programme is a conduit through which a person journeys to arrive at better health in all these four strategic life areas. The problems people deal with are understood to manifest themselves in each category. So we try and solve problems for you in each and every category. For addicts and alcoholics the physical dimension is best described by the allergy-like bodily reaction resulting in the compulsion to continue using substances after the initial use. For others this physical manifestation could be more varied including, but not limited to: compulsive hoarding, distractibility, eating disorders, dysfunctional enabling, hyperactivity, hypomania, insomnia, irritability, lack of motivation, laziness, mania, panic attacks, psychosomatic illnesses, poor impulse control, procrastination, self-injury and suicide attempts. The statement in the First Step that the individual is “powerless” over the substance-abuse related behavior at issue refers to the lack of control over this compulsion, which persists despite any negative consequences that may be endured as a result.

The emotional obsession is described in the 12 step addiction programme as the cognitive processes that cause the individual to repeat the compulsive behavior after some period of abstinence, either knowing that the result will be an inability to stop or operating under the delusion that the result will be different. The description in the First Step of the life of the alcoholic or addict as “unmanageable” refers to the lack of choice that the mind of the addict or alcoholic affords concerning whether to drink or use again.

12 step addiction programme

The illness of the spiritual dimension, or “spiritual malady,” is considered in all twelve-step groups to be self-centeredness (ego). The process of working the steps is intended to replace self-centeredness with a growing higher or transcendent moral consciousness and willingness for self-sacrifice and unselfish constructive action (power). In twelve-step groups, this is known as a spiritual awakening. In twelve-step fellowships and in the 12 step addiction programme we follow, “spiritual awakening” is believed to develop, most frequently, slowly over a period of time, but there is no one rule on this.

It is suggested that members regularly attend meetings with other members who share their particular recovery problem. In accordance with the First Step, twelve-step groups emphasize self-admission by members of the problem they are recovering from. It is in this spirit that members often identify themselves along with an admission of their problem, e.g. “Hi, I’m Joe and I’m an alcoholic and addict.

For more information on 12 step addiction programme get in touch with Pathways Plett rehab Centre located on South Africa’s Garden Route. 0445330330 or email