A 12-step recovery program is a way to give support and education to people who want to stop their use of alcohol or drugs. This kind of self-help program is often done in a group setting. Or it may be done one-on-one with a counselor. Family members may be a part of the process. A 12-step program is not considered a treatment program for alcohol or drug abuse. But it can serve as an important type of support.
The belief behind a 12-step program is that once a person is an addict or alcoholic, he or she is always an addict or alcoholic. The person must admit to being powerless over the drugs or alcohol. He or she must vow to take one day at a time. A 12-step program asks each member to turn his or her problems over to a "higher power.” However, the program is not linked to any religion. The program teaches the person to change negative attitudes and behaviors into positive ones. Use of drugs or alcohol is not allowed while taking part in a 12-step recovery program.