a group of people sit in chairs in a circle during a 12 step program

The 12 step program has become a powerful tool that helps you overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol. If you follow the Northern IL 12 step program, you will find healing as you recover from substance abuse. It is a proven approach that has helped millions of people get back on their feet and live a life free from addiction. The 12 step program in Northern IL can help you.

Northern Illinois Recovery Center offers the 12 step program as a part of our group therapy program during addiction treatment. Many treatment centers utilize some form of these addiction recovery programs as they have proven to be successful in helping individuals achieve long-term recovery.

We help you connect with a support group where you can learn from others and share your story. We can help you break the cycle of addiction.

What Are the Stages of the 12-Step Program?

The 12 step model works for almost any addiction, whether it is alcohol or drugs. The steps include the following:

  • Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Step 3: Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  • Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Step 5: Admitted to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  • Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when would injure them or others.
  • Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  • Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  • Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.

What is the Basic Concept of a 12-Step Program?

The basic concept of the 12-Step model is that individuals provide comfort and help each other maintain sobriety from substance abuse. This is done through meetings where they share their regular experiences and struggles in staying in recovery.

In an article from the journal Addiction Research and Theory, abstinence practices (like the ones taught by 12-Step programs) contribute to large amounts of what researchers call flourishing. This ultimately leads to more positive mental health and contributes to greater success in recovery. During the study, those who maintained abstinence were more likely to flourish, with 40.7 percent flourishing after three months (as compared to 9.3 percent regressing) and almost 40 percent flourishing after nearly a year (this is compared to 12.4 percent regressing).

Using this study as an example, those who omit drugs or alcohol from their lives entirely – as suggested in the 12-Step model – have better mental health outlooks than those who do not. The 12-Step model provides a framework from which to turn control over to a higher power, learn from their experiences, and step forward into more progressive behaviors. Following this model helps people build better emotional and mental tools such as:

  • Recognizing that you need help and are suffering from addiction
  • Surrendering to a higher power in acknowledging addiction exists and looking for guidance.
  • Awareness and understanding regarding past behaviors and how those were directly related to addiction.
  • Encourage self-discipline
  • Through discipline, the ability to build self-esteem by maintaining sobriety.
  • Finally being able to accept oneself and understand how to change destructive behaviors.
  • Learning and practicing compassion and forgiveness for others who have been affected by addiction.
  • Learning how to utilize and learn tools that can be practiced regularly throughout life.

The 12-Step model can actually be used as a method for changing many types of behaviors, not just individuals suffering from addiction. However, for this example, it does translate into helping people find solace in recovery.

Benefits of the 12 Step Program

One of the benefits of the 12 step program is that it is a widely known and established treatment option. Groups that meet together are organized and have a specific purpose based on the same 12 steps. So, you can meet with any group and have the same expectations.

Another benefit is that you have support from an endless network of peers across Northern Illinois. You can always turn to someone for encouragement and a meeting happening somewhere close to you.

Last, there is no timeline for the completion of the 12 steps. Although you should accomplish each step sequentially, no rule states that you must complete the program by a certain deadline. You may discover that your path to completion lasts a lifetime. What is important is that you never leave the path.

Most meetings are free. All you have to do is show up. Other programs you may also consider are:

All of these therapies and others are available to individuals in most rehab centers. At our treatment centers, we offer a variety of addiction treatment therapies in conjunction with 12 step programs. This combination has proven to be successful for long-term addiction recovery.

How Long Do the 12 Steps Take?

There is no set amount of time that the 12 steps will take per person. Each person has a unique addiction story and therefore their time getting through the 12 steps will be unique to their situation.

As a way to gain insight into just how long the 12 steps will take you, most Alcoholics Anonymous sponsors and participants recommend committing to 90 meetings in 90 days when you are a newcomer. After your first 90 days, you can gauge where you are in the recovery process and how far you are into the 12 steps. Make sure you are focusing on using this recovery program to your benefit to help you fight for your sobriety. Getting through the 12 steps is important, but ultimately you’re looking to seek control of your life again. 

What Are Examples of 12-Step Programs?

Because Alcoholics Anonymous was more targeted for people suffering from alcohol addiction, many other programs were soon developed to help other people that may be suffering from drug addiction or dealing with a family member who is trying to maintain abstinence.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)
  • Co-Anon (for those with a loved one suffering from substance abuse)
  • Al-Anon/Alateen (for those with a loved one suffering from alcohol abuse)
  • Heroin Anonymous (HA)

There are many 12-step support groups available to help you steer clear of addiction. During your time in substance abuse treatment, you’ll come to learn about many different recovery groups that can help you maintain sobriety after treatment.

Are There Other Support Groups That Don’t Center Around Religion?

While the basic premise for many groups is to utilize a higher power as their source of strength, many addicts prefer to look for support groups that are more suited to their beliefs. Here are a few non-religious alternatives to a traditional 12-step program.

  • Life Ring Secular: A secular organization that teaches the belief that people with drug and alcohol addiction have the ability to control themselves.
  • SMART Recovery: A support group that encourages self-empowerment over any alcohol and drug addiction.
  • Attending a Rehab Center: There are plenty of addiction treatment facilities that offer recovery services for addiction.
  • Moderation Management: This recovery program doesn’t require complete sobriety, so it’s typically suggested for people who don’t have an addiction problem.
  • Women for Sobriety: WOS is based on 13 statements of acceptance with a focus on positivity, personal inventory, and growth. This is a women’s recovery group.

You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to get started in these programs. As long as you are looking to actively participate in self-reflection, you can benefit from the peer encouragement that many addicts have found helpful. Plus if you ever relapse from substance abuse you’ll know where to turn for help.

Get Started with a 12 Step Program Today at Northern Illinois Recovery Center

If you would like to learn more about the 12 step program at Northern Illinois Recovery Center, contact us today. We can help you find a support group so that you can get started with your steps. Alongside 12 step treatment, we offer several other programs to help those struggling with a substance use disorder, such as:

Contact our team today to learn more about our addiction treatment centers and recovery program options.