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Do You Need to Be Spiritual or Religious to Attend a 12-Step Substance Abuse Program?

Last updated: Tuesday, 29, September 2020

No, you do not need to be spiritual or religious to attend a 12-step treatment program. Many of the short-term and long-term residential treatment centers in the country utilize a modified version of the 12-step approach. This is common among short-term residential treatment centers, because of the shorter stay. However, the clients are encouraged to follow-up with a 12-step fellowship. Some drug treatment centers base their models of addiction treatment around some of the ideas promoted by the 12-steps. The 12-step treatment method is often incorporated into research and evidence-based treatment.

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Step 3 of the 12- steps "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him." For those who are not religious, spiritual, or believe in God, struggle with this step or find it challenging. God has been interpreted to also be a higher power to help people overcome these issues. Yet, experts recommend not to be distracted from the functional practice of the step. Much of this is deciding to and surrendering to overcome or let go of your ego. Most addicts believe they can overcome their drug problem on their own, without help. By accepting help, you are placing your addiction in the hands of people who can help you.


Nickolaus Hayes - Author

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