The 12 Steps

Most addiction treatment centers around the world utilize the 12 Steps during the treatment process in combination with other therapies as it has been proven to decrease the chance of relapse. At Horizon Rehab Center we introduce clients to the 12 Steps and provide them with a thorough understanding of this process so that if they choose to engage in a mutual aid group following treatment they will be comfortable and familiar with the most accessible options.


All 12-Step programs have their basis in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is a global fellowship found in almost every country around the world. Twelve-step programs have grown to encompass a wide variety of addictive issues, not just alcoholism. Fellowships that have grown out of AA now help people with substance abuse, gambling, gaming, sex, and love addictions, as well as a variety of other specific fellowships.

The 12 Steps provides individuals recovering from addiction with a community of people who are dealing with the same problems. This allows a client to seamlessly build a supportive network post-treatment. Wherever they are in the world, they can greatly improve their chances of avoiding relapse and help to make recovery easier by joining one of these groups after returning home.

What are the 12 Steps?

A 12-step program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. These principles were originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

The 12 steps of a 12-step program vary slightly according to each fellowship, but generally include:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The 12-step program is based on the idea that addiction is a disease that can be treated through a combination of self-examination, admission of fault, and reliance on a higher power (or a group conscience, support network, or the program itself) for strength and guidance. Participants in 12-step programs typically attend meetings with others who are also ‘working the program’, and they work through the steps with a sponsor - who is really just a more experienced member - one who provides guidance and support. The goal of the 12-step program is to achieve lasting recovery from addiction and to help others do the same.

12 Step Spiritual Principles

It is said that the 12 Steps are a spiritual, not religious program. There are many recovering addicts engaged in the fellowship who do not identify with the concept of God, but have found a way of working the steps that fits a more secular model. Spirituality, in basic terms, is simply living according to spiritual principles such as honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, compassion, and empathy, which are an integral part of the recovery process.

Clients who do not identify as religious or spiritual will still find the 12 Steps to be a valuable resource. At Horizon Rehab Center we have a model of the 12 Steps that is inclusive of all people, whether or not they believe in a Higher Power.