12-step therapy

Trying to find your way out of addiction can feel like an impossible task. At times, you may feel powerless against your cravings, unable to escape the vicious cycles of substance abuse or addictive behaviours. Fortunately, 12-step therapy can shine a light on the path to recovery and guide you to a place of peace and wellness.

Banbury Lodge offers 12-step therapy as part of our rehab treatment programme. Our experienced team can support you on your journey to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

12-step-therapy - recovery book

What is 12-step therapy?

12-step therapy is a type of group therapy based on the principles and practices outlined in the 12-step programme developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s. The steps focus on building a sober life based on spirituality, honesty and self-improvement. They allow you to take responsibility for your actions and make amends in a supported environment.

The 12-step process can be applied to any type of addiction, whether it is an alcohol, drug or behavioural addiction. It provides you with a way to work through recovery coached by both your therapist and peers until, eventually, you can begin to help others too.

What are the 12 steps?

1: Acceptance: we admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable…

The first step encourages you to move out of denial and acknowledge that, while you may have a problem, it is beyond your control. The very nature of addiction renders you powerless, but by taking the first step and admitting this, you can take your power back.

2: Trust: came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity…

While some may relate a ‘higher power’ to a religious God, it can be anything that resonates with you personally. This could be a friend, a family member or anything else that may guide you in the right direction. This higher power gives you hope that recovery is possible.

3: Liberation: made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him…

The first two steps serve as a means to contemplate, but the third requires action. You will learn how to tune in to your chosen higher power and the way it wants you to live, directing you to stop acting on your compulsions.

4: Understanding: made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves…

Step four pushes you to reflect on yourself and your past behaviours. You will examine your thoughts and assess the morality of your actions. While this may be uncomfortable, it is necessary to be honest with yourself and stay open-minded.

5: Acknowledgement: admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs…

Sharing your past wrongdoings with another can, in fact, be highly therapeutic and opens up opportunities for deep connections. By communicating in this way, you begin to realise that no one is perfect. Everyone has regrets, but this is what makes us human.

6: Freedom: were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character…

As you tackle this step, you will aim to let go of thought and behaviour patterns that cause you harm. While it can be incredibly difficult to change ingrained attitudes, the goal here is progress, not perfection.

7: Growth: humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings…

It is important to realise that you are not responsible for your addiction, but you can be responsible for your recovery. Step seven asks you to practise humility as you continue through recovery.

8: Reflection: made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all…

Making amends and repairing the damage caused by your addiction is never easy, but it is important nonetheless. This step encourages you to embrace the idea of making amends.

9: Forgiveness: made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others…

Step nine moves you into action, asking you to put right the damage done. In doing so, you give yourself and others the ability to let go of past hurt and forgive. This step is highly personal, however, and should only be carried out knowing it will not cause more pain in another’s life.

10: Continuity: continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it…

Step ten reminds you to constantly assess your thoughts and behaviour, be honest with yourself and look out for triggers. Doing this allows for great personal growth and keeps you on track.

11: Connection: sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out…

This step refers to connecting with your chosen higher power and contemplating in order to receive insight. For example, you may privately write to your chosen higher power and quietly reflect on how it would guide you.

12: Helping others: having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and practise these principles in all our affairs…

The final and twelfth step encourages you to help others, sharing the lessons you have learned through your recovery and supporting them as they make the same journey. Not only does this help you to stay on track, but it also helps you to foster meaningful connections while sharing important lessons.

12-step therapy: the challenges

12-step therapy has been proven a highly effective addiction counselling tool, but it is not without its challenges. Some of these challenges include:

  • Surrendering to a ‘higher power’ can be difficult for some who are not religious or spiritual. This is why it is helpful to think of a higher power that connects with you personally.
  • Admitting your past behaviours were wrong and saying sorry to those you have hurt can be incredibly tough. Learning to accept your flaws, however, will provide you with a sense of liberation.
  • Being vulnerable and opening up in a group setting can feel daunting. Your addiction has taught you to hide in secrecy, but 12-step therapy encourages you to talk candidly.

12-step therapy: the benefits

As you work your way through the 12 steps, you will begin to notice a multitude of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • A structured and planned recovery that helps you to stay focused, taking each step as it comes.
  • Support within a community who understands exactly what you are going through.
  • Ability to take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself accountable.
  • A non-judgemental space where you can communicate openly and honestly.
  • Spiritual and personal growth that gives purpose and meaning back to your life

All in all, 12-step therapy allows you to continually work on yourself, develop new skills and improve your overall quality of life. Finding freedom from addiction can bring joy back into your life. If you would like to take part in Banbury Lodge’s 12-step therapy as part of our rehab programme, give our admissions team a call today.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to go through a 12-step programme?
Recovery is different for everyone, and the 12 steps are a particularly personal journey. Some may complete all 12 steps within three months, whereas other will take a year or more. It is important to take your time and reflect on each step, remembering that you can go at your own unique pace.
What steps will I complete while at Banbury Lodge?
This depends on your length of stay, but typically our clients are able to work through the first 3 steps while at Banbury Lodge. After this, you can attend weekly 12-step support groups where you can continue to receive support as you work your way through each step.
How does 12-step therapy work?
12-step therapy works by drastically changing the way you think, feel and behave. It teaches you how to recognise and confront harmful thoughts and behaviours, ultimately leading to an improved version of yourself. The 12 steps promote and instil values such as honesty, humility, compassion and altruism, and this helps you to adhere to an addiction-free life.
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Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 3757