What Are 12-Step Programs?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

The traditional 12-Step Program finds its origins from the very well known Alcoholics Anonymous program, or AA, which has been hailed as the standard for recovery from nearly any type of addiction. The Alcoholics Anonymous model of 12 steps and 12 traditions is one of the oldest treatment programs around. Though it was initially developed for alcohol, its steps and traditions are used with all kinds of addiction disorders worldwide. 

History of The 12 Steps

AA, the origin of the 12-Step Program, was founded by ordinary men trying to lead ordinary lives and were desperate to escape the chains of their alcoholism. The original AA program began as the Oxford Group, a Christian organization founded by Frank Buchman that believed “the root of all problems were the personal problems of fear and selfishness … (and) that the solution to living with fear and selfishness was to surrender one’s life over to God’s plan.” At the time, the Oxford Group’s concepts were revolutionary, as they believed in no temple and no hierarchy. It was a group of people from all walks of life who had surrendered their lives to God, and they simply believed in leading a spiritual life and sharing with others how to do the same. 

The Modern-Day 12 Steps

Though AA has Christian roots, it is far from the “religious” program it once was. It has now made itself known as one of the most revolutionary programs of self-realization across the world. Along with the program itself that sets one up to truly learn about themselves, their ingrained mental patterns and create new healthy ways of living life, the fellowship offers a profoundly supportive community to receive and give support to those on the path of recovery. 

Is the 12-Step Program For Me?

The 12-Step Program can offer guidance and support to almost anyone open to it. At its root, the program is about re-learning how to live our lives outside of the habitual and often dangerous mental patterns that we have learned throughout our lifetime. However, that doesn’t mean it is for everyone. The program has changed its original language to be more inclusive (i.e., changing the word God to higher power and changing men to persons), but that doesn’t change a lot of its original thought process. 

Though many meetings and support groups will make it known that you do not have to believe in a higher power to benefit from the 12-Step Program, its origins are still rooted within this premise, making some people reluctant to give it a chance. It is important to note that though it is known as one of the most powerful recovery programs to date, it may not be for everyone. That is perfectly okay as long as we are honest with ourselves about what is best for our recovery. 


The 12-Step Program is one of the most renowned treatment programs for recovery and sobriety across the world. However, it may not be for everyone or provide all of the answers for everyone’s recovery journey. At Avalon, we know that everyone has different needs while getting sober and we offer many treatment programs to support individuals throughout their process. If you or someone you love is struggling to get or remain sober, call us today at (844) 857-5992. Our experienced professionals will help you build the program you need for lasting recovery.

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