Sobriety Navigator: What is a 12 Step Program?
“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me!” This is a well know motto and philosophy that is practiced in many arenas. It is a perfect description of what the 12 Step self-help programs are all about.
In 1935, a stockbroker, Bill Wilson, and a physician, Dr. Robert Smith, created a series of exercises that, if practiced honestly and sincerely, could arrest the obsession and craving for alcohol and assist in maintaining physical and emotion sobriety. Both had suffered the damning effects of chronic alcoholism for years, and were determined to overcome the disease. They understood very well that no amount of will power, education, intelligence or any other social, ethnic or economic social position could insulate them from the degradation that they had visited upon themselves through their substance abuse.
These specific exercises became known as the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and were published in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (aka the “Big Book”).
One of the many attributes of these 12 steps is that they are presented as suggestions only. Each new-comer who walks through the doors of A.A. is met with kindness, compassion and understanding. Alcoholics Anonymous subscribes to the belief in attraction, not promotion. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.
As a result of the success of the 12 Step program, other groups adopted the 12 Step format to deal with addiction in their lives. The only difference among them is in the wording of the 1st Step. All others remain the same. Here are some examples:
These are just some of the 12 step programs that have come into being over the years. They can all work, but, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me!”
By Cynthia Peterson