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Substance Abuse

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In our rapidly growing world there are increasing demands on time for traditional client counselling and therapy. Consequently it necessitates therapists finding other methods and tools for helping clients to manage their problems.

There are a large number of 12 step programs available that can give this ongoing support and lifelong maintenance. They can assist people to find a spiritual centre from which to grow as individuals and help others.

These 12 step programs can act as a useful tool along with medication, support and treatment when available, helping clients to work towards new significance and achievement in their lives.

The original 12-step program, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was started in 1935 and has developed to be the most widely used organization for the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse. There are over 2,000,000 members in 134 countries worldwide (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1990). AA has had a major impact in shaping western society's view of addiction.

The treatment philosophy of AA has changed how many people view themselves, their substance use and abuse, and the roles played by the people around them.

The success of AA has led to the establishment of a range of 12-step support groups for other dependencies such as gambling, drug addiction, eating disorders, etc, and for people having problems coping with these people as partners, relatives or friends.

Hester & Miller (1995) state that with the plethora of self help groups styled on the 12 step model, a practitioner treating a person with an addiction problem would benefit from information to guide the selection of a 12 step group that is most likely to be of benefit to a particular



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