4 Not 12


Most Americans are probably somewhat familiar with the 12 Steps. 12-Step Programs have been the primary treatment model for treating addictive disorders in the United States for over a century. 12-Step Programs have certainly saved countless lives and kept families together. The 12 Steps aren’t for everyone and as we deal with a nationwide addiction epidemic we must consider alternative options to a program that most studies conclude has a success rate of less than 10%.

The Non-12-Step Programs and Dual Diagnosis

A diagnosis of an addictive disorder almost always comes with a co-occurring secondary diagnosis. The second diagnosis must be treated to successfully help the subject heal. Examples of co-occurring disorders are depression, stress, PTSD, bi-polar disorder or physical trauma. Attempts to “self-medicate” to temporarily relieve the pain caused by the co-occurring disorder often is the root cause of an addictive disorder.

While there are many 12-Step treatment facilities that are licensed as Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers, the 12-Step Philosophy of being powerless against the addiction and making the addictive behavior the centerpiece of the process makes it far more difficult to properly treat a Dual Diagnosis.

Alternative to 12-Step Programs were created to better treat the dual diagnosis. The 12-Step Program was first used more than a century ago and has had very little revision despite numerous advances and discoveries in both medical and behavioral sciences.