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When Considering a Drug Treatment Center or Drug
Rehab Center – Should You 12-Step or Not?

"The first thing in the human personality that
dissolves in alcohol is dignity" - Author Unknown

Deciding on a drug treatment center or drug rehab center is a critical part of your journey toward recovery. If you’ve spent any time at all on this website, you’ll know that I talk a lot about choosing a 12-Step based treatment program.

What does a 12 step drug treatment center do?

It basically follows a program based on the AA 12-Step Program. You will cover the first few steps while in treatment and then move onto the rest once you leave by hopefully attending AA or NA meetings and moving onto the rest of the steps there.

Now the reason I advocate following a 12-Step program – and hence starting off by going to a 12-Step based drug treatment center, is the following:

  • It’s been around longer than any other form of treatment. In fact AA was founded in 1935. For something to have survived that long obviously means it works.
  • One of the biggest reasons I believe drug addicts and alcoholics are stuck in a negative spiral of addiction – is the feeling of alienation, isolation and loneliness that you feel. There is tremendous power in a group setting where you spend time listening and learning from others who have been through what you have – and are there to help you.
  • The 12 Steps – whether it be AA/NA or whatever – is essentially a Spiritual Program – and if you’ve read anything I have to say on this site, you will have read why I believe following a Spiritual Program is crucial to overcoming addiction.
There are lots of drug treatment centers/rehabs or alternative programs out there that will tell you the 12-Steps don’t work and will point out the high relapse rates for people who have gone through a 12-Step Program.

Yes – relapse rates are high, but that’s not because the program doesn’t work. It’s because addicts entering recovery aren’t prepared to put in the work necessary, make the lifestyle adjustments etc. required to stay clean.

Staying off alcohol and drugs and building a successful life in recovery takes a certain amount of dedication, discipline and work (i.e. following the 12 steps). Many are just not ready for that and it will take them a few goes at treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism and attempting recovery to decide enough is enough and take things seriously.

And I challenge any other form of program that claims to have higher success rates to prove that with a high enough number of people to warrant their statistical claims as being worthy. At the end of the day – the 12 steps are simply a road or path to follow. Your success depends directly to the effort you put into following it.

I’ve met heroin addicts who have many years of successful recovery under their belts by simply following the 12 steps - and who have never come close to the inside of a rehab. So it’s all relative to the effort you put in.

Now I know up until now I have been banging the drum for 12-step based drug treatment centers and programs – but are they the be all and end all? No.

If I’m being truthful I don’t follow the 12 steps anymore. I did religiously for the first couple of years until I felt I had embedded my sobriety - and then moved on. But I still use a lot of the principles the 12 steps taught me to remain vigilant and so prevent myself from relapsing.

The key thing for me now is that I follow my own Spiritual Program essentially which I believe does everything it needs to for me so that the thought of drinking or using drugs simply isn’t an issue for me anymore. For more info on the Addiction Recovery Tools that I believe cover most of what a good spiritual program should do for you – just click on the link.

There may well be drug rehab centers that follow some sort of Spiritual Program that also provides you with a path to follow when you leave like the 12 steps, which allows you to interact and learn from others who have successfully overcome their own addictions like you do at NA and AA meetings – and if that’s the case, then sure, try them out.

But my point is – with a 12-Step based drug treatment center you know you’re getting all that and that you will be following a program once you leave treatment that has stood the test of time. Eventually you may once you feel confident and secure in your recovery want to move on – but at least give yourself the best possible chance to get to that point, which you will certainly be doing by going the 12 Step route.

So when evaluating a drug treatment center, knowing everything you need to know about a drug rehab program and how to evaulate a drug and alcohol rehab facility properly will ensure you choose the program best for you.

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