A chronic, multifaceted disease that requires treatment

Our understanding of addiction and recovery has significantly evolved over the years. Today, we have a better idea of how substance use affects the brain and recognize addiction as a chronic, multifaceted disease that requires treatment. While there is no cure for substance use disorders, we now know that the most effective treatments involve an approach that addresses an individual’s mental, physical and emotional health.

For that reason, one of the most widely adopted and successful methods for treating addiction is the 12-step program. When combined with modern treatment modalities and cutting-edge techniques, the 12-step process has been proven to promote long-term healing and provide patients with the support and guidance they need for lasting change.

What is the 12-Step Method?

The 12-steps are a set of principles intended to guide patients as they work toward long-term sobriety. Developed in 1935, the 12-steps are the cornerstone of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and have since become one of the most well known and effective treatment models for overcoming substance use disorders. As AA grew in popularity, affiliated programs began to appear as other self-help and recovery groups adapted its techniques. Since its founding, the 12-steps have transformed the lives of thousands of men and women, helping them overcome their addiction and achieve deep, lasting recovery.

The 12-steps are:

  1. 1


    Admission of powerlessness over addiction

  2. 2


    Belief in a greater power or goal that can restore hope

  3. 3


    Decision to turn will and life over to greater power

  4. 4

    Personal inventory

    Complete a searching and fearless moral inventory

  5. 5


    Admit the nature of our wrongs

  6. 6


    Ready to have character defects removed

  7. 7


    Ask for our shortcomings to be removed

  8. 8

    Amends (list)

    Make a list of those we've harmed

  9. 9

    Amends (action)

    Make amends to those we've harmed

  10. 10

    Continued personal inventory

    Continue to take personal inventory

  11. 11

    Spiritual growth

    Seek to improve a conscious connection to greater power

  12. 12

    Giving back

    Spiritual awakening; carry the message to others

At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we utilize the 12-step methodology throughout our programs alongside other treatment modalities that complement its teachings. This ensures that each patient’s recovery plan is effective and well-rounded. During your treatment, our hope is that patients find the 12-steps to be a source of strength and guidance. With more than 50,000 groups in the United States alone, the availability of 12-step groups means that you will always find the support you need long after your stay with us.

How the 12-Step Method Works

The 12-steps function as a set of guidelines, principles and goals designed to help those in recovery delve into the truth of their addiction, restore order to their lives and discover a more meaningful way to live. The focus of 12-step methodology is to discuss and apply these principles, but there is no right or wrong approach to “working the steps.” It’s important that participants discover what works best for them, depending on their needs and goals.

Participants attend groups and meetings where they can openly discuss their recovery, admit past mistakes, explore their strengths and shortcomings, and actively work on becoming a better person. 12-step meetings are intended as safe places, where members can share their experiences or struggles without judgment or ridicule. Participants can also celebrate their victories and work through setbacks with a group of people who understand. By sharing intimate aspects of one’s journey, 12-step groups help participants find the support they need to cope with the demands of recovery. Meetings also connect patients with other individuals working toward sobriety, facilitating healthy connections and relationships that don’t revolve around drugs or alcohol. Other benefits of the 12-step Method include:

Other benefits of the 12-step Method

  • Collective strength in shared experiences
  • Emotional and peer support
  • Development of healthy attitudes and behaviors
  • Beneficial change in thought patterns (cognitive restructuring)
  • Highly accessible meetings
  • Relapse prevention
  • Improved treatment outcomes
  • Actionable steps and realistic goals
  • Continued support after formal treatment

Is the 12-Step Method Right for Me?

When it comes to recovery, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers; there are only methods that resonate with you and those that don’t.

The 12-step method is just one path to sobriety, grounded in the principles of support, honesty and personal growth. By practicing accountability and honesty in recovery, patients can change their way of thinking and learn to recognize triggers and warning signs, avoid negative thoughts, set boundaries for healthy relationships and strengthen the resolve to achieve lasting sobriety.

Higher power

Some individuals wonder if the 12-step program is right for them due to its references of God or a higher power. It’s worthwhile to remember that such statements are open to interpretation, and being religious is not a requirement for the program. People from all backgrounds and faiths, including those who are agnostic or atheist, have benefitted from the core principles of the 12-steps.

Not only for alcohol abuse

Those in recovery also wonder if the 12-steps can work for them if they don’t struggle specifically with alcohol abuse. Although the 12-steps began as the foundation for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), they’ve been adapted and applied to a wide scope of recovery programs throughout the years. Many substance use and mental health disorder 12-step groups now exist, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA), Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA), Heroin Anonymous (HA) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA). The diversity and variety of 12-step programs available helps those in recovery find a group that meets their unique needs.

Other specialty programs

If you’re not sure if the 12-steps are right for you, at Journey Hillside Tarzana we offer other specialty programs in addition to our signature residential treatment. Our Holistic Track is ideal for clients seeking alternative forms of therapy, incorporating Eastern approaches to recovery such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness training and higher degrees of individual therapy. Our Impaired Professionals Track is designed to help professionals requiring rehabilitation preserve their careers, providing advanced case management, intensive counseling services and close communication with state licensing and professional boards. Regardless of which treatment service you choose, you’ll benefit from the latest clinical and experiential therapies, interdisciplinary care and unparalleled one-on-one attention with highly personalized recovery plans.

The 12-Step Track at Journey Hillside Tarzana

At Journey Hillside Tarzana, the 12-steps are an important part of our recovery program. The process is especially beneficial for those who respond more strongly to highly structured, goal-oriented methods or who have worked the 12-steps in the past, but we believe the 12-step model is beneficial for all patients.

For those who want a more in-depth, immersive experience, our 12-Step Track provides a deeper focus and more targeted approach, which includes:

Included in our 12-Step Track

  • Advanced 12×12 studies
  • Big Book studies
  • Integration into the broader 12-step community.

Receive one-on-one attention

Clients also receive one-on-one attention to learn about the process and are encouraged to actively participate in groups and meetings to get the most out of each experience. Our 12-step specialty program provides a strong foundation of the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively “work the steps” both during and after treatment. Our goal is to give patients the tools they need to stay focused on recovery and strengthen their resolve for a life free of substance use.

Contact Journey Hillside Tarzana

If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use, Journey Hillside Tarzana in Los Angeles, California can help. Our specialized programs, 12-step methodology and restorative atmosphere can help you find the serenity, clarity and humility you need to heal.

Contact or call us today at 877-414-1024 to learn more about our programs and how they can help.

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