Can Adolescents Benefit From 12-Step Program Integration?

Adolescent benefiting from 12-Step programsPrevious research has shown that treatment is best when it’s integrated – because everyone has unique histories, interests and learning processes. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that comprehensive, personalized treatment works best for adolescents in addiction recovery and this often takes place amongst several components:

  • Behavioral therapies – such as counseling, psychotherapy, group therapy, etc.
  • Activities – such as horseback riding, rock climbing, canoeing and others
  • Group meals – so that adolescents can get to know other teens who are recovering
  • School assistance – which allows adolescents recovering to continue their education and not get behind
  • 12-Step programs – to provide a community in which adolescents can become a part of

12-Step programs can be incredibly effective for teens in recovery because it gives them an opportunity to connect with others while following a structured path towards healing. In 12-Step programs, teens can rebalance and restore their mental, physical and spiritual health; a 2015 study published by a student in the Harvard University Extension School found that greater involvement in 12-Step programs leads to lengthened sobriety. The 12-Step program is often supplemental to other forms of treatment, and it’s these various approaches to recovery that give a person a more personalized experience.

While being promoted to live a drug-free lifestyle, adolescents in recovery can work through deep-rooted issues in psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for instance, is a therapy approach that helps individuals uncover negative thought processes and replace them with more positive, meaningful ones. Group therapy sessions – aside from the group discussions explored in 12-Step Programs – can help teens explore greater issues that have been at play in their lives – whether it relates to friends, home life, school, mental health concerns or something else.

One person shared their personal experience with a 12-Step program via Recovery and Me. Here is an excerpt from their story:

“I learned about the power of connection between one recovering person and another; where sharing experiences, strength and hope with each other provide examples and inspiration to continue ‘one day at a time’.”

The strength garnered from 12-Step programs, in addition to other treatment modalities, can only serve to strengthen an adolescent’s journey to recovery. The period of adolescence is already marked by a rollercoaster of emotions and development; teens can find strength in a safe community found through Cumberland Heights’ ARCH Academy.

 Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program located in Kingston Springs that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.