How successful is 12 steps?

Find out about the statistics or get it right away. Twelve-step programs have helped alcoholics and people addicted to drugs overcome their addiction since the mid-1950s. Developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) co-founder Bill Wilson, the 12 steps can lead you to a successful recovery from addiction. However, the first question you may have is how long it takes to go through the 12 steps of AA.

The first 12-step program was Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Later, AA evolved to address substance abuse. Today, that 12-step program is known as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), but there are other programs that focus on mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and maladaptive behavior patterns, such as compulsive gambling. It's difficult to determine the success rate of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, largely because they're anonymous.

If people haven't had success with 12-step programs or don't want to use them, they still have several alternatives. It may take longer to complete some of the steps than others, but time commitment is one you are doing with your sobriety and a successful recovery. Many people have been successful in treating their substance use disorders with the 12-step program. Instead, the power of this approach lies in the ability of the twelve steps to address both the internal causes of alcoholism and the external consequences, preparing the recovering alcoholic for success.

In 1951, based on what Dodes calls “the force of self-reported success and popular articles (The Saturday Evening Post was a big supporter), AA received a Lasker Award, which is “awarded by the American Public Health Association for outstanding achievements in medical research or public health administration. It's not just that AA has a 5 to 10 percent success rate; if it succeeded and was neutral the rest of the time, we'd say it's OK. So how did AA gain a privileged place in American healthcare culture? How did a regime of such an openly religious nature, with a success rate of 31 percent at best, a success rate of five to 10 percent at worst, and an overall retention rate of five percent, become the most reliable method of addiction treatment in the country, and possibly in the world? It's a central question that Dodes seeks to answer in The Sober Truth. Recovery is a lot like this, and just as a person who doesn't eat nutritionally and doesn't exercise can't expect to successfully complete a major marathon, a person who doesn't actively participate in your 12-step program and other recovery-related activities shouldn't expect to be able to take big steps.

toward healing and restoration. Of course, those don't take into account the large number of alcoholics who never make it past their first year of meetings and subsequently never complete the 12 steps (the definition of success, according to AA standards). There is no exact success rate available, as many of the results are published by AA and vary based on several factors. Although there are many people who have shared their success stories with 12-step programs, there is still a debate about the effectiveness of all of this.

What the most successful programs have in common is that they treat the individual with compassion and respect, provide a supportive and camaraderie social environment, and teach better ways to deal with life's problems. Although some sources have criticized AA for having a low success rate, it is likely that the rate will not be 5% as some say it is.