A principal tenet of 12 Step treatment is to affirm someone as their worst behavior. “Hello, my name is Joe and I am an alcoholic.” The Non-12 Step approach never labels a person in treatment and believes they are not defined by their addiction. In the Non-12 Step Recovery Model, you are in individual looking to make positive changes for yourself.
Those in 12 Step Programs are taught to see themselves as powerless against the addiction. A major facet of “working the program” is to submit oneself to a higher power. While this is presented as non-denominational, it can be problematic for the personal belief systems of many who are struggling with addictive disorders. In the Non-12 Step approach it is presented that the power
to heal comes from within. In fact, the name “Empower” was chosen for this treatment center, because the Alternative to 12 Step treatment program provides clients with the tools to empower them to overcome the underlying issues that fuel addictive behavior.
The traditional 12 Step approach focuses on the behavior and not the person. You could sum up the philosophy by saying “I drink (or gamble or use narcotics). Bad things happen to me because I drink, so I shouldn’t drink.” Even if that approach helps someone stop, it doesn’t get at the root cause of why they started in the first place. If you attend an AA Meeting (a major facet of the 12 Step approach) you will hear many give testimony that they were actually happier when they were using. If someone in recovery is unhappy or depressed the chance for relapse increases exponentially.
The Non-12 Step Program focuses more on working through all the issues that may be troubling the client. Issues they may not even be aware of that have been buried in the subconscious, but creating trauma for many years. It is a true whole person healing approach. By helping the subject find inner balance and happiness, the possibility increases for a life filled with better and healthier choices.