A twelve-step program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioural problems.
In the twelve-step program human structure is symbolically represented in three dimensions: physical, mental, and spiritual. The problems the groups deal with manifest themselves in each dimension. 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.
The statement in the First Step that the individual is “powerless” over the substance-abuse related behaviour refers to the lack of control over this compulsion, which persists despite any negative consequences that may be endured as a result.
The mental obsession is described as the cognitive process that causes individuals to repeat the compulsive behaviour after some period of abstinence, either knowing that the result will be an inability to stop oroperating 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.
The spiritual dimension or “spiritual malady,” is considered in all twelve-step groups to be selfcenteredness, negative feelings and emotions, remorse, guilt, shame, shattered self-esteem, selfdoubt, loneliness, alienation, isolation, depression and feelings of hopelessness, and a pervasive sense of meaninglessness of life.” This model is not intended to be a scientific explanation, it is only a perspective that twelve-step organisations have fo und useful. A Spiritual Principle is a fundamental truth, an origin from which positive change can occur. Some of the significant Principles include: honesty, acceptance, hope, commitment, faith, courage, willingness, humility, unconditional love, perseverance, open-mindedness, awareness, vigilance, self-discipline, sharing and caring, and service.
The process of working the steps is intended to replace self centeredness, self destructive feelings and self defeating behaviours, with a growing moral consciousness, self awareness and a willingness for unselfish constructive action.
View our What to expect from Treatment leaflet here.