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12-Step Recovery Programs

  • By: Therissa A. Libby
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The term 12-step program refers to an organization that offers support to those dealing with an addiction or compulsion using the model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Twelve-step programs are named for the 12 steps of recovery, originally written by the early members of AA. Common elements of 12-step programs include mutual support among those with a specific addiction or compulsion, understanding the addiction or compulsion as an illness, finding strength in reliance upon a power greater than oneself, self-examination, service to others with the same condition, a singleness of purpose, and bottom-up self-governance. While 12-step programs have millions of members, and many professionals refer clients to such programs, questions remain about their effectiveness and universality.

Alcoholics Anonymous

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