At Paradigm San Francisco, we value and implement the 12-Step Program as one useful therapeutic tool, in providing care for teens struggling with Substance Abuse Disorders. We always incorporate the 12-Step Program in conjunction with a number of other therapeutic techniques and resources, in order to provide teens with the most cohesive, holistic treatment possible. While many adolescent treatment centers rely entirely upon the 12-Step Program, in our experience this single-handed approach can sometimes lead to harmful oversights and/or omissions, especially concerning the underlying emotional issues that are present. To this end, we implement the 12-Step Program in accordance with teens’ thorough diagnostic interview process and treatment design, when we believe that it will best address specific aspects of teens’ current struggles regarding substance abuse.
The 12-Step Program is a very well-known and commonly used set of principles that guide individuals to recover from addiction to alcohol or other substances. The steps were originally designed by Alcoholics Anonymous with specific relation to alcohol, but now has been expanded to address drug abuse as well. Some of the basic principles of the 12-Steps include things such as: admitting that one can’t control the compulsion or addiction; recognizing that one needs help from others or from a higher power; examining past struggles and/or mistakes related to the abuse and making amends for them; learning to live life with new behaviors; and supporting others that struggle with addiction.
As is evident from the widespread success and popularity of the 12-Step program, we recognize that it can be a tremendously powerful form of treatment, in helping some teens to achieve and maintain sobriety. For some teens, it can be helpful to have specific, tangible steps and principles to use as guidance, when working to make such significant changes in their lives. And at the same time, the 12-Step program can also provide teens with the important presence of a supportive, understanding community, which can be an invaluable resource, especially once teens return home. For all of these reasons, we always look for opportunities to implement the 12-Step program for teens for whom we believe it will be useful. In other instances where teens are struggling with substance abuse conditions, but the 12-Step Program doesn’t seem to be a good fit for their particular needs, we implement other techniques and modalities, accordingly. We believe that this process of individual evaluation ensures our ability to provide teens with care that is specifically designed according to their needs, because needs can vary so greatly, even among teens that are struggling with substance abuse. We feel this is especially important in order to properly and correctly treat co-occurring disorders, such as teens also struggling with Teen Depression, Teen Anxiety, or Teen Eating Disorder. In order to best meet the full needs of these teens, we have to design treatment that speaks to their specific behaviors and beliefs, if we are going to help them to recover, heal, and grow, in the most meaningful, lasting ways possible. This is our promise and commitment to every teen that comes to us at Paradigm San Francisco.