12 Step Approach to Alcohol Addiction Rehab

Published by Raffa Bari | Last updated: 22nd September 2022 | All Sources


Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

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All information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Last Reviewed: 22nd September 2022

There are many different angles to alcohol rehabilitation. One of those angles involves the 12-step approach, designed as a holistic and spiritually led recovery programme.

Offered through most alcohol rehab clinics, the 12-step model helps clients understand, control, and manage their recovery through an effective structure. Working very well alongside traditional therapies and medical services, each step helps to motivate change and empowerment.

Underpinned by Alcoholics Anonymous, meetings are free, flexible, and suitable to treat various addiction types. Here’s how the 12-step approach to alcohol addiction rehab works and its expected benefits.


Overview of the 12-step Approach

Developed by Bill Wilson in 1935, the 12-step approach to alcohol addiction rehab is still effective to this day. Carrying forward the intentions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step model offers a greater structure to work through.

Offering a holistic approach to addiction recovery, each step of the 12-step philosophy provides spiritual awakening, full self-awareness, and mindfulness. Providing the chance to be aware of alcohol problems, amend previous choices and learn new ways of living, each step can be designed around individual needs.

The 12-step approach is adaptable, meaning that it can be applied to various addiction diagnoses. It compliments additional treatment services by offering a psychological focus and plan of action. For some people, rehabilitation services are unaffordable, meaning that support is lacking. 12-step programmes and meetings are free through rehab, offering the chance to still disconnect and recover from alcoholism.

Programmes involve group therapy and family sessions, to offer a community feel and a supportive recovery journey. Along with its inspiring content, 12-step programmes can also be educational and informative, supportive of relapse prevention and long-term recovery.

Available through inpatient and outpatient programmes, the 12-step approach to alcohol addiction rehab can either be incorporated through active treatment or on an aftercare basis.


How 12 Step Programme Aids Recovery

Whilst the steps of a 12-step programme can be adjusted to meet individual needs, the intention behind each step helps to inspire change. Great change must be accepted and committed to, in order to recover from alcohol addiction. The 12-step approach provides context and a plan to make small yet impactful changes.

Alcoholism can be a lonely condition to experience. Social isolation can make recovery very difficult. Yet it’s also important that recovering addicts surround themselves with positive and likeminded people. The 12-step philosophy, inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous provides intimate, quality support. Clients can share their experiences, whilst encountering peer support and a safe space for family and friends to also partake. Both the difficulties and wins of long-term recovery can be worked through, through a supportive and motivating outlet.

The 12-step approach to alcohol addiction rehab aids recovery as it is incorporated into most rehab programmes. Whether each step or part of the process is incorporated, holistic recovery is a focus. Not only will the strength and sustainability of recovery increase, but the transitional period of recovery will also be protected. Being familiar with the 12-steps prior to aftercare is beneficial, which is the case through inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Helping to boost accountability and personal awareness, addictions and compulsive behaviours can be worked through with greater focus and structure through this approach. Whilst spiritually led, clients from all backgrounds and belief systems can benefit from the 12-step structure.


The 12 Steps – What Are They?

The original 12-steps were designed with spirituality and faith-based outlooks in mind. Over the years, they have adapted to relate to a broader range of people. Yet are still similar when considering personal acceptance and growth through addiction recovery.

The 12-steps, underpinned by Alcoholics Anonymous include:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives have become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly ask him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. 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 his message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


Benefits to the 12-step Approach

Whilst additional treatment options are promoted alongside the 12-steps, to recover from alcoholism, there are many benefits to its place in alcohol rehab.

The 12-step approach not only supports people who are struggling from addiction, but also those with mental health problems. Both are closely linked, defined as dual diagnosis. Following a 12-step programme can help to overcome compulsive and uncontrolled behaviours linked to mental illness and alcohol abuse. Completing each step will offer a proactive recovery process.

Offered through rehab and aftercare, 12-step programmes are free to access. As treatment can be unaffordable in some situations, programmes provide support, the motivation to change and the environment to still recover.

12-step programmes are beneficial for recovering addicts, providing various angles of support. They are also beneficial for communities and family members, by also facilitating group therapy sessions. Support networks can benefit from greater education, whilst peers can be inspired by the 12-steps of success.


Does It Apply to Both Inpatient and Outpatient?

Each step can be applied and worked through via inpatient and outpatient addiction rehab. There are some differences, due to the consistency and intensity of each rehab programme.

Through inpatient, residential rehab, programmes are mostly incorporated into existing treatment plans. Included in group therapy sessions and holistic therapy sessions, the 12-steps can be worked through alongside further addiction treatment methods. Each step will be highly structured and consistently visited through inpatient treatment.

As outpatient rehab is much more flexible, it provides various options to consider. Rehab treatment will be necessary, yet a schedule of support groups and therapy sessions will be offered. Whilst the 12-step philosophy is encouraged for uptake, offerings are accommodating to personal needs and outlooks.

The 12-step approach to alcohol addiction rehab fuels many treatment options and dynamics here at Cassiobury Court. We involve its philosophy through active treatment and aftercare.


Is the 12-step Approach Right for You?

Addiction recovery is a personal experience. What will benefit one client may not benefit your journey. Through our rehab centre, we recommend the most suitable treatment services and plans to meet the needs of our clients.

The 12-step approach will be incorporated and observed, to gauge your response. We can adjust some of the steps to suitably treat your addiction. If unbeneficial, further therapy sessions will be prioritised through alcohol addiction rehab.



Aftercare programmes are invaluable through the transitional period, offering structure and routine. The 12-step approach is an effective form of aftercare, providing regular access to support groups, communities, and Alcoholics Anonymous philosophies.

Programmes will provide you with your own feasible schedule, whilst acting as a source of inspiration and accountability.


Get Help for Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is a manageable condition once treated and understood. Get help for your alcohol problems by reaching out at Cassiobury Court. We offer a wide range of therapies and services to promote recovery, alongside the 12-step approach to alcohol addiction rehab.

We will find the right approach to help you recover.

Raffa Bari

Raffa Bari - Author Last updated: 22nd September 2022

CQC Registered Manager

Raffa manages the day to day caring services here at Cassiobury Court. Dedicated to the treatment and well being of our visitors she is an outstanding mental health coach registered with BAAT (British Association of Art Therapists). Raffa has outstanding experience in managing rehabs across the country and is vastly experienced at helping people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner) - Medical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 22nd September 2022

Dr. Olalekan Otulana MBChB, DRCOG, MRCGP, DFSRH, FRSPH, MBA (Cantab)

 Dr Otulana is a highly experienced GP and Addiction Physician. He has a specialist interest in Substance Misuse Management and he has a wide range of experience in the assessment, management (including detoxification) and residential rehabilitation of clients with various drug and substance addiction problems.  His main aim is to comprehensively assess patients with addiction problems and determine their treatment needs for medical detoxification treatments and psychological interventions. He is also experienced in managing patients who require dual drug and alcohol detoxification treatments.

A strong healthcare services professional with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from Cambridge University Judge Business School.