12 Step Models

Twelve-step programs are self-help groups that are based off of the Alcoholics Anonymous and their 12 steps to recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first 12-step , self-help group founded in 1934 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob (Robert Smith). 

 12 step programs are run in the community by volunteers/seasoned members who are well versed in their particular 12 step model (i.e.- AA, NA etc.). One key component to 12 step models is admitting powerlessness over addiction (which is in line with the disease model). 12 step encourages the use of peer support while seeking behavior change (abstinence). Most 12 step modalities have a “higher power” component of spirituality and incorporate various readings in addition to attendance of meetings (i.e.- The Big Book, Living Sober). These readings allow for a basis of discussion among members. 

 Some examples of 12 step programs are as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous(AA)

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Gamblers Anonymous (GA)

 There are several other 12 step programs for both people with various types of addictions or risky behavior, as well as those affected (i.e.- family members, spouses).



Morgenstern, J., Labouvie, E., McCrady, B. S., Kahler, C. W., & Frey, R. M. (1997). Affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous after treatment: A study of its therapeutic effects and mechanisms of action. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology65(5), 768-777. Affiliation with AA

Nowinski, J. (2003). Facilitating 12-Step Recovery from Substance Abuse & Addiction. In Treating Substance Abuse, Second Edition: Theory & Technique (31-65). New York:Guilford Press. Facilitating 12-Step Recovery

Steigerwald, F & Stone, D. (1999). Cognitive Restructuring & the 12-Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 16(4), 321-327.  Cognitive Restructuring – AA