12 Step Facilitation Therapy

What is 12 Step Facilitation Therapy?

The 12-step facilitation treatment is a semi-structured form of behavioral therapy aimed at helping clients maintain long-term sobriety by encouraging and easing their participation in a 12-step recovery group.

This therapy approach is based on the 12-step fellowship model, which assumes that addiction is a chronic relapsing condition with biological, psychological, and spiritual components that must be treated simultaneously for a full recovery.

People who regularly attend a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are likelier to remain sober than those who don’t. After a client has concluded therapy, they should be encouraged to participate in a peer support group like this as part of an aftercare plan.

If you or a loved one has an addiction problem, the medical professionals at Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada can help you get your life back on track. Keep reading to learn more about what our 12-step facilitation therapy programs entail!

The Key Concepts of 12 Step Therapy

The Key Concepts of 12 Step Therapy

Addiction is a chronic disease, and recovery is a lifelong journey. While individual therapy is effective, one of the best approaches for addiction treatment is treating people battling addiction in a group setting.

Participation in the 12 steps early offers an opportunity to begin making connections with other people in recovery. Substance abuse treatment programs that use the 12-step approach focus on changing the client’s thoughts and behavioral patterns.

The three primary concepts that 12-step therapy incorporates include:


Addiction is viewed as a chronic, progressive disease, and clients learn to accept this reality. Substance misuse has made it entirely uncontrollable, and the addict’s willpower is insufficient to overcome the addiction. The only way to beat drug and alcohol dependency is to abstain completely.


Clients can heal from their addictions if they are willing to surrender to a higher power and accept the help of their peers. Clients must agree that the 12-step program offers their best chance at lasting sobriety.

Active Involvement

Participation in all aspects of the 12-step program is essential, including frequent AA meeting attendance.

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Benefits of 12 Step Facilitation Therapy for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Some of the main benefits of 12-step facilitation therapy are:

  • It allows people in recovery to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety
  • Provides users with access to a support system of others who have gone through similar situations
  • Tips and practices for maintaining sober gathered from the experiences of others
  • It gives people regular access to a safe space where they won’t be judged for sharing their thoughts and feelings

A Brief History of the 12 Step Program

The Big Book

This evidence-based approach was first introduced in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression. The 12 steps and traditions used in Alcoholics Anonymous were developed by Bill Wilson, the organization’s founder. This was after he had an awakening to his Higher Power during heroin detox at a Manhattan rehabilitation hospital.

Since he had no formal psychology training, Wilson’s 12 steps were created by combining philosophical and religious beliefs. He summarized the concepts into a specific list inspired by the bible.

The Foundational Text of AA

Also known as “The Big Book,” the Alcoholics Anonymous book has evolved into the foundation of addiction treatment programs. AA is currently found in about 180 nations globally, with membership millions of members.

There are thousands of AA organizations worldwide, and AA material has been translated into over 100 languages. At some point in the recovery process of getting better, most people in rehab will come into contact with Wilson’s system.

Among all the twelve-step programs, Alcoholics Anonymous has the most members. Most people in a twelve-step program attempt to overcome some addiction, most commonly to drugs or alcohol. But most of these groups also address other problems.

AA meetings can be found in Reno, Henderson, Las Vegas, and throughout the state of Nevada.

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The 12 Steps of AA

Below are the 12 steps used in these programs:

  1. Powerlessness: Admitting that our lives have gotten out of control because of disease or substance abuse.
  2. Belief: Believing that a higher power than us can help restore us to sanity
  3. Surrender: Committing to turn our will and lives to the care of God
  4. Self-examination: Taking an honest and in-depth personal inventory of our moral selves
  5. Confession: Confessing our wrongdoings to a higher power, to ourselves, and to others
  6. Willingness: Being entirely ready to have God or another higher power remove all the defects of character
  7. Humility: Humbly asking a higher power to take away our flaws
  8. Restitution: Making a list of everyone we’ve wronged and being ready to apologize to them all
  9. Self-discipline: Making direct amends to such people when possible, unless doing so would cause them or someone else harm
  10. Steadfastness: Keeping an honest inventory of our shortcomings, and when we’ve been wrong, we recognize it without delay
  11. Spiritual growth: Using prayer and meditation to deepen your connection to God or a higher power, asking only for guidance in doing His will and the strength to see it through
  12. Services: Having a spiritual awakening through these steps, sharing this message with other addicts, and putting these ideas into practice in all aspects of our lives

Is Group Therapy Effective?

Is Group Therapy Effective

A group treatment program for people with similar issues is usually more beneficial than individual therapy to ensure lasting behavioral changes. Boston physician Joseph Pratt was among the first to notice this phenomenon in 1905.

He initiated weekly group gatherings for those suffering from tuberculosis. Pratt initially believed the groups would help members learn better hygienic practices, but he soon realized that the therapy helped members feel better emotionally. Sharing their experiences helps patients feel less alone,

Members find the group to be a captivating emotional experience, build tight ties with the other members, and are deeply influenced by the acceptance and feedback of their peers.

Why 12 Step Facilitation Therapy Works

There is no single therapy approach that works for all clients. Assigning clients to alternative therapy based on individual needs and characteristics can help people recover from addiction.

As part of Project Match, which ran from 1989 to 1997, almost 1,700 alcoholics were randomly allocated to one of three effective drug treatment regimens often employed by accredited drug rehabilitation centers. It was a form of therapy known as “12-step facilitation,” in which a trained counselor guides their clients through Bill Wilson’s 12-step program.

The second is cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT), which helps people with drug or alcohol dependence and addiction identify and avoid the circumstances that often lead to relapse. Individuals can learn to avoid the kinds of risky settings that lead to past regressions by keeping a detailed record of the people, places, and circumstances that played a role.

Enhancing Client Motivation for Success

After much deliberation, motivational enhancement therapy (MET) was implemented. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a form of individual therapy that uses interviews to help people find and focus on their own personal strengths and motivations for recovery.

Project Match found that the three treatments were similarly effective in lowering participants’ alcohol and drug consumption. Total abstinence was much more likely to be achieved with the help of the 12 steps than with the help of only reducing alcohol (drug) intake.

Get 12 Step Guidance Now at Icarus in Nevada

12 Step Guidance

Drug and alcohol addiction is a challenging and often chronic experience. However, addiction treatment professionals at Icarus can help you reclaim your life from addiction through our evidence-based treatment programs. We also provide treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders or dual diagnoses.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us today for professional medical advice on all forms of addiction treatment… Get the help you deserve at Icarus now!

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FAQs About Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the 12-step facilitation therapy

How Long do 12 Step Programs Last?

The time it takes to complete the 12 stages once can vary widely. Many people in AA and other 12-step organizations like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) recommend that newcomers and sponsees attend 90 meetings in 90 days or at least one meeting per day for three months. Remember, that no one becomes an alcoholic overnight, and the process of gaining sobriety also takes time and commitment.

The most important aspects of any 12-step program are the quality of one’s step work and the extent to which one incorporates the principles of the program into one’s daily life, not how quickly one can complete the steps.

What Is the Success Rate of the Twelve-Step Facilitation Program?

It’s vital to remember that the success of a given program, including 12-step initiatives, will vary from person to person and objective to goal before addressing the program’s effectiveness. Twelve-step programs are among the most effective methods for achieving and maintaining sobriety.

Members of the 12-step community often say things like, “it works if you work it,” which means the program is successful if you put in the time and effort to work the schedule thoroughly and finish the 12 stages with your sponsor. However, results from research and levels of effectiveness are inconsistent.

How Likely is Long Term Recovery from Alcohol and Drugs?

When it comes to increasing the likelihood of long-term sobriety, 12-step programs benefit those who suffer from a substance use disorder but do not have another mental health problem. 12-step programs also help people with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues.

Those who have struggled with substance use disorder often find that 12-step programs are one of the most effective and finest techniques for establishing long-term abstinence from substance misuse and aiding a successful transition into sobriety. Faith, fellowship, sobriety, acceptance, and continuous growth and development are emphasized and fostered among members.

When Should You Enroll in a 12-step Program Like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous?

If you have a substance use disorder or meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder, a 12-step program may be helpful to you. Talk to your therapist, doctor, or our medical experts at Icarus about your concerns about whether or not a 12-step program will be beneficial to you.

They may be better positioned to assess whether a 12-step program is appropriate for you. Attending a free 12-step meeting on your own is the bare minimum you can do to evaluate if this approach is good for you. However, you shouldn’t base your decision on just one encounter; each one is unique, and some may better fit your personality and objectives than others.