12 Step Information

Across the US, and around the world, most drug treatment programs are patterned after the 12 Step model of recovery, originally developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. First presented to the public with the 1939 publication of AA’s primary text (frequently referred to as the “Big Book”), these Steps collected the combined wisdom and experience of the earliest sober members of AA.

Growing from a small group of people in Ohio, who met in the homes of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith (the program’s founders), the effectiveness of the program soon became clear, as the number of sober alcoholics soon outgrew these home meetings. By the early 1950s, the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous numbered over 150,000 recovered men and women. The success of the Twelve Step approach quickly attracted the attention of professionals in the field of treatment, and its tenets were adapted to treat other addictions. In 1953, Narcotics Anonymous was formed as a self-help fellowship, modeled on AA’s structure. Its text, the “White Book,” was published in 1962. Today, the number of Twelve Step drug rehab programs is virtually impossible to quantify, as the principles have been applied to help everyone from smokers to chronic clutterers. Far and away, these Steps have proven to be the most effective tools for treating the disease of addiction.

At their core, the twelve step drug rehab programs follow a simple approach, where members meet to share their experience, strength and hope with each other. These programs usually encourage newcomers to find a sponsor (simply a more experienced member), who can help them understand and use the tools of the program.


Warning Signs To Determine If You Have a Drug Or Alcohol Problem: Do you:

1. Feel guilty or remorseful after a period of drinking or using drugs?
2. Find that you’ve used more drugs or alcohol than you’d planned?
3. Use drugs or alcohol before attending events to get “in the mood”?
4. Avoid events where drugs or alcohol won’t be available?
5. Sneak additional drinks or drugs at parties, so others won’t know how much you’ve consumed?
6. Argue with others about your drinking or drug using behaviors?
7. Frequently feel you “deserve” a drink or a drug just to relax?
8. Need a drink or drug in the morning to “get you going”?
9. Sometimes forget events that happened while you were drinking or using drugs?
10. Drink or use drugs alone?
11. Drink or use drugs several days in a row, without “sobering up” in between?
12. Lie about (or try to minimize) the extent of your alcohol or drug use?
13. Look forward to your next opportunity to drink or use drugs?
14. Have accidents (damage to self or property, such as an automobile) when drinking or using drugs?
15. Use more alcohol or drugs today than you did a year ago, to achieve the same effect?

Warning Signs to Determine If a Friend or Loved One Has a Drug or Alcohol Problem:

In addition to your awareness of your friend or loved one exhibiting any of the signs listed above, does he or she:

1. Attempt to justify or explain his/her drinking or drug use?
2. Choose friends who drink or use drugs regularly?
3. Drive or operate machinery under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
4. Forget or deny things that happened while he/she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
5. Behave differently (especially becoming physically or verbally abusive) when under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
6. Hide or stockpile drugs or alcohol around the house?
7. Have problems that arise from alcohol or drug use (such as accidents, financial crises, interpersonal conflicts, absenteeism)?
8. Diminish the extent of his/her substance abuse problem, claiming that drinking beer or wine “isn’t as bad as” hard liquor, or that marijuana or prescription drugs “aren’t as bad as” cocaine or heroin?
9. Drink or use drugs to feel better about him/her self?
10. Cause embarrassment, fear or anxiety in you or others when drinking or using drugs?

Warning Signs to Determine If an Employee or Co-Worker Has a Drug or Alcohol Problem:

In addition to your awareness of your employee or co-worker exhibiting any of the signs listed above, does he or she:

1. Slur his/her speech, or seem incoherent in conversation?
2. Avoid maintaining direct eye contact, especially with managers or other superiors?
3. Appear lethargic or hyperactive?
4. Seem lax about grooming, dress or hygiene?
5. Speak either slower or faster than at other times?
6. Show up with bruises or injuries that can’t be explained?
7. Frequently show up late, forget meetings or appointments, or miss work all together?
8. Return from breaks or lunch in demonstrably different mood?
9. Have difficulty with tasks or assignments that he/she would otherwise be competent to handle?
10. Experience cycles of extremely high and extremely low performance?
11. Blame others or make excuses for poor performance?
12. Have unusual difficulties getting along with other employees?
13. Violate company rules or policies, and then become defiant when called on it?

Any of the signs listed on this page may signal a problem with substance abuse, although there is no way to make clear determinations, based solely on behavior in individual circumstances. We offer this list simply as a guide for assessing the potential of a problem with drugs or alcohol in yourself, someone close to you, or someone you work with.