Eighty years ago, there was no such thing as 12 Step Programs. If you had an addiction, you would be sent to a psychiatric ward because no one would know what to do with you. The only way to be treated was just to stop.
Now, we should be thankful that there are such things as 12 Step Programs so that addiction will not be seen as a weakness in character but a cry for help and hope for recovery. Contrary to the depiction of 12 Step Programs on film and television, these programs are filled with the smiles and laughter of addicts who will freely tell their stories to other addicts like them. There is one for every addiction and they are located worldwide.
Alcoholics Anonymous was the first 12 Step Program founded in 1935. It first started out as a book which then turned into meetings where alcoholics can achieve sobriety. There are Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in over 170 countries with over two million members. Al-Anon was founded in 1951 to help friends or relatives of those who have suffered with alcohol addiction. The loved ones of alcoholics learn to heal from the damage caused by their alcoholic friend or family member and how to detach themselves from that person in a healthy way. These Al-Anon meetings are spread out in 55 countries.
Narcotics Anonymous was founded in 1953 with a focus of drug addiction. The only requirement for joining this fellowship is the ultimate goal of abstinence from all drugs. There are 67,000 meetings in 139 countries. Cocaine Anonymous is one of the largest 12 Step Programs that started in 1952 and uses the Alcoholics Anonymous book to help those addicted to cocaine be free of their addiction. This fellowship exists in 25 countries as well as online.
Gamblers Anonymous is found in over a dozen countries for those with a serious addiction to gambling and to educate the serious consequences that gambling can bring. Overeaters Anonymous uses the 12 Steps to talk about compulsive eating, eating disorders, over exercising, and under-eating. This fellowship started in 1960 and meetings can be found in 80 countries with about 54,000 members. Sex Addicts Anonymous was founded in 1977 for those overcoming sex addiction with meetings in 33 countries. With meetings all around for any addiction, it is important to make use of them to better your life.