Why A.A.’s 12 Steps Work in Addiction Treatment
One of the biggest misconceptions about addiction is that the booze, the crack, the heroin – that they are the disease. What they are is a symptom of the disease of addiction.
Get sober and you will still be sick. The mind is still sick, the spirit is still sick. Getting well requires a comprehensive plan of action. We believe that a 12-Step-centered drug rehab program must be in play in order for the addict to get and stay well.
A study by the National Institutes of Health found “…rates of abstinence are about twice as high for those who attended a 12-Step group such as A.A. following (primary rehab) treatment”. Moreover, the longer, and more meetings attended, significantly contributed to overall rates of enduring sobriety. Two factors persist here: longevity of support and the 12 Steps of A.A.
Three Basic Approaches to 12-Step Treatment
There are essentially three toolsets that treatment professionals can leverage in helping addicts achieve and maintain long term sobriety:
- Psychotherapy, including CBTR, DBT, EMDR, Grief, Trauma, etc.
- 12-Step Programs
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
The first approach most often focuses on identifying of root use causes and triggers of addiction. The key here is in learning behavioral modification techniques addicts can use to stay sober. The second involves working through the 12 Steps of A.A. with a structured curriculum. MAT is a treatment approach through which addiction is addressed with the use of modern pharmaceuticals. It includes opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and often combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders. It is an emerging approach to treatment and appropriate for some addicts who may wish to pursue it. At Granite Recovery Centers, being an abstinence-based program, we do not subscribe to the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment and do not believe in treating addiction with drugs.
Our 12-Step Integrated Approach
The approach that we employ with great success here at Granite Recovery Centers, combines a comprehensive 12-Step curriculum integrated with individual and group clinical psychotherapies. In this integrated environment, addicts work through the 12 Steps and learn how each step affects their past, present, and future in sobriety. As an example, Step 4’s “making a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves” is useful and important. But in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy, the emotional pain unearthed by a trained 12-Step facilitator can be properly processed with the help a licensed clinician and real healing can take place.