12 Step vs. Non-12 Step: Which One is For Me?

12 Step program

Most of us are familiar with the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) programs. Founded in 1935, AA is typically considered more grounded in religion and provides a distinct pathway for members to follow on the road to recovery. Non-12 step programs do not provide a religious component, categorizing them as secular and multi-faceted. If you’ve recently been considering your options for treatment, you may be unsure as to which route to go: 12 step or non-12 step? There are both advantages and disadvantages to both, so let’s explore them:

12 Step Programs

Advantages: Often covered by insurance, very easy to find, affordable, religious component

Disadvantages: Lower success rates shown, often no support for dual diagnoses, volunteer-led rather than professional-led, individualized care is typically not an option

Non-12 Step Programs

Advantages: Higher success rates shown, evidence-based techniques, support for dual diagnoses, more customizable counseling, multiple approaches can be used

Disadvantages: Not as many available since they are still growing, more limited insurance coverage, no religious component if you are seeking to join a community based on this

When deciding on a program, it’s important to not place cost as the sole reason behind your program choice. What truly matters is that you select an option that works best for you and how you want to build your journey to recovery. Additionally, these programs are not supposed to be used alone – most people utilize one of these programs to help them maintain sobriety after going through a treatment program.

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that after 33 years of assessing individuals with addiction, those with the highest long-term recovery success rates were integrated in a treatment program. This highlights the importance of first seeking out a structured program, and then to follow up with a 12-step or non-12 step program for maintenance.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse treatment program. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. If you’re seeking a treatment center that focuses primarily on mental health, call our parent property, New Vista Behavioral Health, at 855-398-7959. If you’re seeking treatment for either substance abuse or dual diagnosis, call us at 888-743-0490. There are many people that can help you develop the tools you need to succeed.