Why 12 Step Rehab Programs Aren’t For You. Overcoming an addiction is hard enough without facing the failure of selecting the wrong type of program. Although the traditional 12 step program is used in many rehab facilities, it does not work for many individuals. Recognizing that a 12 step rehab program is not always the best solution will make it easier to find a treatment option that is better for personal needs or the needs of a loved one.
Low Continuation Rate
Although the publicized information related to the success of 12 step programs can seem inspiring, it does not provide the most accurate view on the situation. According to Bankole A. Johnson on the Washington Post, only about 5 percent of those who start a 12 step program actually continue with the program for an extended period of time. For any program to work effectively against addiction, it must provide long-term care and assistance.
A large percentage of individuals drop out of the program before it can have a positive impact on recovery. According to Bankole A. Johnson, roughly 81 percent of those entering into a 12 step program drop out before completing a full month of treatment. That means it does not even provide the opportunity to effectively break the habit of addictive behaviors. It takes time to break away from an addiction and that is not possible if the program is only followed for a few weeks.
Lack of Differentiation
A key reason that it is easy to drop out or struggle with the program is the limited variety within the program. The program does not address every situation or cause of addiction. An addiction to drugs or alcohol can have a wide variety of causes and the best treatment might not relate to personal determination to give up substance abuse.
In many cases of addiction, physical discomfort or mental health conditions are related to the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Since the 12 step program does not always address the need for physical treatments or mental health treatments, it can have a limited ability on recovery that relates to those issues.
An effective treatment for addiction is one that provides diversity and personalization. According to Dr. Adi Jaffe on Psychology Today, treating an addiction is like treating any other chronic condition. If one treatment does not work, then a specialist should try a different treatment approach. In the case of a 12 step rehab program, the professionals do not always adjust the program to personal needs. That means that it is hard to recover because the 12 step program is not the appropriate treatment approach for the situation.
Although an addiction treatment might incorporate some religious or spiritual systems, a 12 step program puts a large focus on spirituality. For individuals who do not have a strong spiritual belief system or religious belief, the spiritual side of treatment might feel uncomfortable or uninviting. The religious aspects can lead to discomfort, which distracts the mind from giving up substance abuse.
While a holistic approach to treatment can provide opportunities to seek spiritual relief, it is not effective for those who do not have any religious beliefs or who are not interested in spirituality. It is easy to drop out of the program when it does not accept that certain individuals do not believe in a higher power or cannot follow the same spiritual directives as the program requires.
Lack of Flexibility
According to Dr. Adi Jaffe, the lack of flexibility prevents the program from advancing or addressing a larger number of needs. The program follows a rigid set of rules that was designed and written in the Alcoholics Anonymous book in 1939. While the rules might seem to provide a simple approach to treatment and recovery, it does not allow for changes that have occurred since the 1930s.
Treating an addiction is not simple. It requires flexibility and personalization that addresses different needs, feelings and individual belief systems. A rigid set of rules can seem too stifling, especially when it does not fit into a personal lifestyle or belief.
A lack of flexibility limits the advancement of treating the root cause of the problem. The program does not work for everyone, but it does not make an effort to work for a larger number of individuals either.
Forgetting the Goal
A 12 step program does not always provide enough for individuals to recover from addiction for a lifetime. The reason is that it forgets that the ultimate goal of the program is recovery by providing the tools to fight against the problem.
As changes occur to modernize thinking processes, the treatment programs need to change to keep up. Since studies have occurred since the program was first started, it should be incorporated into the treatment program. Unfortunately, many 12 step rehab programs forget that the goal is recovery based on real people and their individual needs. While the steps provide a guideline, it is easy to forget that it is only an outline that is designed to help individuals reach their final goal of giving up substance abuse.
Finding the Right Treatment Program
Since a 12 step program is not the best solution for every situation, it is important to find the right treatment program to improve the chances of recovery and reduce the risk of facing a relapse. Addiction recovery will take time and it is not easy, but with the right program it is possible to address the causes and start walking down the road to a lifestyle of healing.
A few key items to look for in a treatment program include:
- Personalized treatment options
- A wide variety of solutions
- Professional staff members
- Long-term treatment options
- Aftercare services
- Medically supervised detoxification services
- Health Facilities
- Alternative and holistic options
Although the best program will depend on several factors, looking for a treatment center that focuses on individual needs and has several treatment options available will increase the chances of obtaining freedom from substance abuse. It will also make it possible to keep trying after a particular treatment solution does not work for the situation.
If the addiction is related to a particular situation or health concern, then it is also important to look for facilities that are able to address that problem. For example, if the addiction stems from a traumatic experience that made it harder to resist alcohol or drugs, then the treatment should provide counseling services and psychological treatments that are focused on trauma as it relates to addiction.
Although an obvious cause is not possible in every case of addiction, it can provide a starting point when looking for treatment. The starting point will only give a few additional considerations when looking at a facility, but it can make identifying the right program a little simpler.
Recovery is Never Easy
Recovering from an addiction is never easy, but it is made harder when the wrong rehab program is selected. Although 12 step rehab programs are well-known, it is not always the best way to recover from an addiction. Having more treatment options available will increase the chances of successfully giving up the drugs or alcohol. By finding a treatment program that provides personalized solutions and offers expert tools to fight against temptation, the chances of giving up substance abuse for a lifetime will improve.