12-Step Facilitation Therapy (Alcohol, Stimulants, Opiates)

Twelve-step facilitation therapy is an active engagement strategy designed to increase the likelihood of a substance abuser becoming affiliated with and actively involved in 12-step self-help groups and, thus, promote abstinence. Three key aspects predominate: acceptance, which includes the realization that drug addiction is a chronic, progressive disease over which one has no control, that life has become unmanageable because of drugs, that willpower alone is insufficient to overcome the problem, and that abstinence is the only alternative; surrender, which involves giving oneself over to a higher power, accepting the fellowship and support structure of other recovering addicted individuals, and following the recovery activities laid out by the 12-step program; and active involvement in 12-step meetings and related activities. While the efficacy of 12-step programs (and 12-step facilitation) in treating alcohol dependence has been established, the research on other abused drugs is more preliminary but promising for helping drug abusers sustain recovery. NIDA has recognized the need for more research in this area and is currently funding a community-based study to examine the impact of 12-step facilitation therapy for methamphetamine and cocaine abusers.

Further Reading:

Carroll, K.M.; Nich, C.; Ball, S.A.; McCance, E.; Frankforter, T.L.; and Rounsaville, B.J. One-year follow-up of disulfiram and psychotherapy for cocainealcohol users: Sustained effects of treatment. Addiction 95(9):1335-1349, 2000.

Donovan D.M., and Wells E.A. "Tweaking 12-step": The potential role of 12-Step self-help group involvement in methamphetamine recovery. Addiction 102(Suppl. 1):121-129, 2007.

Project MATCH Research Group. Matching alcoholism treatments to client heterogeneity: Project MATCH posttreatment drinking outcomes. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 58(1)7-29, 1997.

This page was last updated April 2009