12-Step Drug Addiction Recovery Programs

Drug addicts have less control over their lives than those who do not use drugs. Those who need help with an addiction might seek one of the 12-step programs that offer help and support from recovering addicts. According to Narcotics Anonymous, these programs grew out of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in California. The history of the program dates back to the 1950s, and NA meetings now take place around the world.

How Successful Are the Programs?

According to Narcotics Anonymous, a 2007 survey showed the average sobriety length for members is just over nine years. This rate includes members who stayed clean and sober for more than 10 years, and the survey included newer members. The success of the program depends on the type of addiction it battles. For example, 12step.com claims that the success rate might drop as low as 5 percent for certain addictions; however, for other addictions, it is substantially higher. The support groups might help addicts battle other addictions in their lives. The site 12steps.com also claims that members of Crystal Meth Anonymous report having less unprotected sex and fewer sexual partners.

An Average Meeting

“If you have not attended a meeting, you might not know what 12-step programs entail.”If you have not attended a meeting, you might not know what 12-step programs entail. The programs usually take place in a conference room or meeting hall at a church, community center or another building. The leader of the group asks everyone to repeat the mantra of the organization, which is essentially a short prayer. Other members of the group spend time sharing stories about the experiences they had doing drugs and getting clean. As a new member, you have the chance to share your story during the meeting. If you feel uncomfortable around strangers, you might talk about your situation at a later meeting.

Following the Steps

Programs of this type have 12 separate steps that members must follow. The steps typically increase in difficulty as the addict works through them. Fellow members help you work through each step and ensure that you are ready for the next step. Some of the steps in the program include:

  • Admitting that you have no control over your addiction
  • Turning your life over to a higher power
  • Making amends to anyone your addiction harmed
  • Making a personal inventory of your faults


Some 12-step programs involve the use of a sponsor, who is someone that overcame their addictions in the past. Your sponsor is someone you can talk to about the difficulties that you face during your recovery. The addict also has the option of using a remote sponsor. A remote sponsor is someone who lives in another city or state. You can contact that person with a text message, phone call or over the Internet when you need help.

Family Support Groups

support group meetingIf you have an addict in your life, you might look for 12-step addiction recovery support groups for family, friends and loved ones. Nar-Anon is one example of a recovery group for loved ones. The groups members are those who have a loved one battling an addiction. The group follows the same steps as the programs for addicts, and you learn that you have no control over the actions or addictions of another. Attending meetings helps you gain some control over your own life, and you learn ways that you can help the addict in your life.

Additional Help

Finding 12-step programs in your area is sometimes difficult because you do not know where to look. When you call us at 1-888-287-0471, you get help finding the best meetings. You might choose programs that take place at a drug rehabilitation center for a complete recovery experience for the addict. You can also choose independent or outpatient programs that the addict can follow instead of going to inpatient rehab.

Did You Know?

  • According to Narcotics Anonymous, 12 percent of its members remain drug-free for more than 20 years.
  • According to Alcoholics Anonymous, 36 percent of its members remain clean and free from alcohol for a decade or longer.
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