The term 12 step program refers to a popular approach to treating alcohol and other addictions. The 12 step program was originally, and perhaps most famously, used by Alcoholics Anonymous. However many organisations associated with addictive behaviour now use a 12 step program.
A 12 step program is basically a form of self help. The central theme of any 12 step program is the recognition of one´s powerlessness over the addiction, and also to recognise that there is a higher power that can have a protective and nurturing effect. It is important to note that in a 12 step program, this higher power is not necessarily a religious one.
A 12 step program aims to help an addicted person to beat their addiction in supported stages. The first stage of a 12 step program is admitting powerlessness. You may recognise this aspect of a 12 step program from the famous Alcoholics Anonymous scene of a person standing up and saying ´my name is x and I´m an alcoholic.´
Other stages of a 12 step program include making a choice to change one´s life and acknowledging the wrong that has been done to others through addiction. A successful 12 step program should culminate in learning to live life in a new addiction-free way, and hopefully helping others suffering from addiction.