Menu Close

12-Step Program

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

a woman thinks about entering a 12-step treatment programTwelve-Step programs offer one of the most popular approaches to treating addiction. Countless people join 12-step treatment programs or 12-step-based treatment programs each year. These groups provide support from people who understand each other, leaders who have had similar life goals, and a structured program that breaks the daunting task of recovery into manageable steps.

The idea of attending your first 12-step addiction recovery meeting or rehab program can be intimidating at first. Once you get started, you are likely to find an inviting group where people genuinely care for one another. When a person in recovery listens to other people’s stories of fighting addiction, encouragement and support are often found.

At Michael’s House, we have been providing hope and healing for over thirty years. Call 760.548.4032 to learn more about our 12-step treatment programs and other addiction treatment services. 

What Are the 12 Steps?

The 12 steps vary in focus and subject depending upon the addiction addressed by the group, but at their core, they are the same across all programs. Here are the original 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous [1]:

  1. We first admit that we were powerless over our addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We realize that power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our lives over to the care of our higher power. This can be God, a chosen deity, the group or society as a whole, or anything that is a higher power than ourselves.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admit to our higher power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We ask to have our higher power remove these defects of character.
  7. We humbly ask our higher power to remove our shortcomings.
  8. We make a list of all persons we may have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continue to take personal inventory, and when we are wrong, we promptly admit it.
  11. We seek, through prayer and meditation, to improve our relationship with our higher power, asking for the knowledge of the best good action and how to achieve it.
  12. We have a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, so we go forward to carry this message to other addicted persons and practice these principles in all our affairs. 


Is There a 12-Step Program for Me?

Since Bill Wilson founded it in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous has become the largest and most well-known self-help organization for alcohol problems worldwide. [2]

Other similarly structured programs soon followed. All were designed to help those who struggle with addiction or overwhelming life issues. From sex addiction to gambling, these programs opened the successful formula established by AA to a wider group of people that struggle with various addictions.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) — AA is the most famous of the 12-step groups. This group is for people with alcohol use disorder and primarily serves those with a desire to stop drinking. However, in recent years some AA groups have welcomed people battling other addictive substances who share a desire to stay sober.
  • Different types of meetings are available, including women-only meetings, men-only meetings, meetings just for members, and meetings open to the public.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) — NA provides education and group support for those in recovery with addictions to drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, prescription medications, and other substances. There are also 12-step groups specific to certain narcotics, like Heroin Anonymous (HA) and
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA) — Nar-Anon is also available for friends and family members who need support as they stand by a loved one living with an addiction to narcotics.
  • Marijuana Anonymous (MA) — Although there is considerable debate about the addictive nature of marijuana, there is no denying that many pot smokers are unable to stop using the drug, even when they recognize that they are experiencing negative consequences in their lives as a result. This group provides support for those engaged in trying to quit.
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) — Crystal meth addiction is unique among illicit substances in that its users often have a more difficult time in recovery nine months to a year after they stop abusing the drug. Ongoing support through a 12-step program is especially important for those in recovery from this drug.
  • Al-Anon — This group provides needed support for those who have a friend or loved one fighting an addiction. Families Anonymous (FA) is another 12-step group designed to help those who live with and love an addicted family member. Alateen is a branch of Al-Anon that offers 12-step groups dedicated to teenagers living with an alcoholic family member, and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) provides similar support for those who grew up with an alcoholic parent or caregiver. 

What Meetings Should I Attend?

There are several types of 12-step meetings to choose from, no matter your age, gender, or sexual orientation.

Here are some of the distinctions you may find when you look for meetings in your area: 


Open or Closed Meetings

Not all meetings are open to the public. Closed meetings are just for those who have attended the same group in the past. Open meetings allow potential new members to attend. 


Newcomer Meetings

These meetings give those new to the 12 steps a chance to ask all their burning questions, like:

  • “Why do I need a sponsor?”
  • ”Why should we speak up and share at meetings?”
  • ”Does everyone have to work the 12 steps?”
  • “What is the value of the 12 traditions?”

All these questions and more are answered at newcomer meetings.


Big Book Meetings

These meetings often begin with a reading from the Big Book for AA. Participants may share their thoughts and experiences after the reading. 


Tradition Meetings

These meetings examine one of the 12 traditions that those who participate in AA and other 12-step programs are expected to honor. 


Speaker Meetings

A speaker is asked to share their story of recovery. When it’s over, depending upon the structure of the meeting, they may direct a study of one of the steps, discuss their experience further, or open the discussion to a topic of their choice. 


Share Meetings or Discussion Meetings

A chairperson is nominated to run these meetings for a few months at a time. They will choose a different topic for discussion at the start of each gathering and then open up the discussion to comments from participants. No one is forced to speak, and usually, no crosstalk is allowed. 


Share Meetings or Discussion Meetings

A chairperson is nominated to run these meetings for a few months at a time. They will choose a different topic for discussion at the start of each gathering and then open up the discussion to comments from participants. No one is forced to speak, and usually, no crosstalk is allowed. 

Michael’s House Offers a 12-Step Treatment Program

For those who choose recovery with Michael’s House, 12-step treatment programs are incorporated into treatment in addition to a holistic, evidence-based treatment model. At Michael’s House, you can expect to experience a dedicated treatment team that leads therapies and proven addiction treatment, including 12-step meetings. Call 760.548.4032 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one heal. 


LIVE CHAT