The so-called “Twelve Steps” is a program that is aimed at recovery from addiction or some other behavioural problems. This method can be viewed as some form of therapy; it can be applied to drug addiction or alcoholism. The essence of this program is that a patient has to rely on God in order to conquer his affliction. Dr Bob described it in the following way “Trust God, clean house, help others”. It should be taken into account that the “God” in this particular case means some higher power (Kurz, p 45).
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As a rule, this program involves the following steps. First, a person must acknowledge that his addiction assumed control over him. The second step to be taken is to realize that some higher power can give him a hand of assistance. Moreover, a person must remember the errors that he had committed before and try to amend them. At the last stage of treatment, one has to accept a new behavioural code. It should be taken into account that after recovery, it is necessary to help other people to get rid of an addiction or any other behavioural problem (Lile, p 66).
According to the twelve-step program, mental disorders can be divided into three categories such as physical, mental and spiritual. As far as addiction is concerned, we can say that it belongs to the so-called physical dimension. This category also includes such disorders as insomnia, overeating, laziness, irritability, etc.
The key peculiarity of this method is that each support group must include a sponsor or a more experienced person who has already managed to reform himself and now helps others to do the same. The relationships between the sponsor and the newcomer cannot be described as friendship but rather as mutual help.
According to this method, a support group must be treated as a unity, and personal recovery depends upon the welfare of the unity. Each member of the group must be adamant in his desire to break the vicious circle and intent on giving up his bad habit.
However, we should mention that the effectiveness of this therapy has been disputed due to the following reasons because, as a rule, participants enjoy varied success. First, it is worth mentioning that the belief in the existence of some Higher Power is a very subjective notion, and the Christian approach cannot be applied to people of different ferocious beliefs (Miller, p 61).
Secondly, one of the instructions says, “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” Then the question arises of what the person himself is supposed to do if he relies only on God.
It is also worth mentioning that many people who were treated according to this program did not manage to give up their addiction because they could not find the strength to take personal inventory.
Moreover, this twelve-step recovery program is, to a certain degree, some form of self-suggestion, but it should be taken into account that ability self-suggestion is a very rare gift. Thus, such an approach cannot be applied to everyone.
Another point is that there are many people who managed to quit smoking or drinking for a while but afterwards, their habit resumed. Then it is very difficult for these people to regain their faith in their strength.
Thus, we can arrive at the conclusion that the twelve-step program is based on the method of self-suggestion and, as any form of therapy it has its advantages and disadvantages.
Adesso, V. J. (1995). “Diversity Confronts the Monolith”. Psycho Critique (12), 1.
Borman, P. D., & Dixon, D. N. (1998). “Spirituality and the 12 steps of substance abuse recovery”. Journal of Psychology & Theology 26. (40), 1.
Kurtz, L. F., & Fisher, M. (2003). “Twelve-step recovery and community service”. Health & Social Work (32) 4.
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Lile, B. (2003). “Twelve step programs: An update: Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment” (22) 3.
Miller, M. M. (2003). “Twelve Step Programs: An Update”. Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment, (14) 6.
Zajdow, G. (1998). “Civil society, social capital and the Twelve Step group”. Community, Work & Family.