The Importance of Twelve Step Programs

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Twelve Step programs have been helping people for more than seventy years ("Twelve Step History," 2011). The durability of the program proves its efficacy in addressing the underlying problems and symptoms of addiction. Although the Twelve Step program began with Alcoholics Anonymous, the system has expanded to include and embrace all other addictions from overeating to gambling. Narcotics Anonymous is the Twelve Step group for persons who have an addiction to drugs. It started in the 1940s as a response to the growing number of chemically addicted persons who did not have a comorbid addiction to alcohol ("Narcotics Anonymous," 2012). According to Peyrot (1985), Narcotics Anonymous is the oldest and largest self-help group for substance abusers. The program exists worldwide, and serves a diverse population. One of the key reasons why Narcotics Anonymous should be included in any treatment repertoire is that the group serves multiple functions, serving as "underground social movement and major treatment modality for drug abusers," (Pevrot, 1985, p. 1509). Regular attendance of meetings is the closest thing that constitutes "membership" in Narcotics Anonymous. Like other branches of the Twelve Step model, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has no formal dues-paying program and no formal system of membership. One simply shows up to a meeting and comes and goes at will. The nature of the Twelve Steps encourages personal responsibility, personal accountability, and autonomy. The
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