Substance abuse 12-step programs are nonprofit organizations that were developed to assist individuals in recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. The first 12-step fellowship was started in the 1930s called Alcoholics Anonymous. Because the success rate for recovery in the program was so high, individuals began creating other self-help groups to follow the same format in hopes of achieving sobriety as well.

Because addiction is considered a disease, it is an illness that can never be fully “cured,” will progressively worsen over time, and cannot be arrested by willpower alone. Substance abuse 12-step programs allow Individuals to utilize their methods of treating addiction and begin their own recovery process.

Here is a list of 12 step programs for substance abuse:

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12 step program geared towards helping people recover from addiction to alcohol.

Cocaine Anonymous (CA)

Cocaine Anonymous is a 12 step program geared towards helping people recover from cocaine addiction.

Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)

Crystal Meth Anonymous is a 12 step program geared towards helping people recover from addiction to “meth”.

Heroin Anonymous (HA)

Heroin Anonymous is a 12 step program geared towards helping people recover from addiction to heroin.

Marijuana Anonymous (MA)

Marijuana Anonymous is a 12 step program geared towards helping people recover from marijuana addiction.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Narcotics Anonymous is a 12 step program that helps people recover from drug addiction.

Nicotine Anonymous (NicA)

Nicotine Anonymous is a 12 step program geared towards helping people recover from nicotine addiction.

Pills Anonymous (PA)

Pills Anonymous is a 12 step program geared towards helping people recover from prescription pill addiction.

More about 12 Step Programs for Substance Abuse

In each fellowship, members admit their powerlessness over their addiction first and then can begin working the rest of the 12 steps. Although each group is different and addresses different areas of substance abuse, from alcoholism to specific drug addictions, they all focus on the idea that individuals can recover from their addiction when they work the steps and build a strong support system with other members in the program.

Although each program does emphasize the importance of sobriety, the rest of the steps delve further into the individual, allowing them to correct character defects, make amends to people they have hurt in the past and continue living a sober and happier lifestyle.

Substance abuse 12-step programs do not cost money or require any membership fees. The only requirement to each of these programs is the desire to stop using drugs or alcohol.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step fellowship that was created for individuals who have the desire to stop drinking alcohol. It was started in the 1930s by two men, Dr. Bob S. and Bill W., who sought out sobriety and realized that discussing their problems with each other helped them stay sober. While the focus is primarily on alcohol, individuals are also encouraged to stop using other mind-altering substances. The group’s main goal is to help individuals achieve sobriety and share the message with others that recovery is possible. As of 2018, Alcoholics Anonymous was estimated to have over 2 million members and over 100,000 active meetings worldwide.

Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous was founded in the 1980s to address the specific addiction to cocaine, although it is not solely intended for cocaine addicts only; substance abusers of any kind are welcome to meetings. The only desire for membership to the fellowship is the desire to stop using cocaine or any other mind-altering substances.

Members of Cocaine Anonymous can achieve sobriety by following a 12-step recovery process, which, after achieving sobriety, begins to address some of the problems that addiction can cause in someone’s life. While many members of Cocaine Anonymous had nowhere left to turn before the program, many of them are able to find peace of mind and serenity once they begin attending meetings and working the steps of the program.

Crystal Meth Anonymous

Crystal Meth Anonymous was developed in the early 1990s to help individuals recover from their addiction to crystal meth. The program focuses on abstinence not only from crystal meth, but also from alcohol, inhalants and other drugs that are not taken as prescribed. Although crystal meth addiction is specified in the group’s name, the fellowship welcomes anyone who has a problem with drugs and has the desire to stop using.

The group provides members an adapted version of the 12 steps to begin their recovery process. Once sobriety has been achieved, members are encouraged to work the rest of the steps to improve other aspects of their lives.

Heroin Anonymous

Following the same format as Alcoholics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous began in 2004 as a result of there being no program specified for recovering heroin addicts. Although the program does promote the same idea, abstinence from all drugs and alcohol, the founders believed that individuals addicted to heroin could relate on a more personal level with others who have experienced heroin addiction. The goal of the program is to help individuals achieve sobriety and allow members to continue sharing their stories of experience, strength and hope with others to show them that recovery from heroin addiction is possible. Over the course of its life, Heroin Anonymous has grown extensively and has meetings and active members worldwide.

Marijuana Anonymous

Marijuana Anonymous is another 12-step program for individuals who want to recover from marijuana addiction. Although there are many arguments against whether or not marijuana is addictive, individuals are encouraged to make their own decision as to whether or not they have crossed the line from using to addiction. Members of Marijuana Anonymous are individuals who struggle with marijuana controlling their lives and they live around getting it, using it and finding any way to stay high. Formed in the late 1980s, the group focuses on the abstinence of marijuana in order to lead a happier and healthier life, although it does recommend that its members examine their other drug and alcohol use, which may also need to be ceased in order to fully recover.

Narcotics Anonymous

Shortly after Alcoholics Anonymous began, a man named Jimmy K. brought the idea of Narcotics Anonymous to light and it became an official organization in 1953. The group was created for anyone who was struggling with drug addiction. While the group had a slow take-off during its time, as it was difficult for the fellowship to find places to meet, it is now the second largest 12-step program in the world. Today, the group holds over 60,000 meetings weekly and it’s available in over 130 countries worldwide.

For members of Narcotics Anonymous, there is no distinction between drugs and alcohol; both are to be abstained from in the program. Members who make an effort to work the steps and regularly attend meetings have achieved sobriety in the program and their goal is to help others recover from drug addiction as well.

Nicotine Anonymous

Nicotine Anonymous, a 12-step program that was made official in the 1980s, was formed for individuals who had the desire to quit smoking and live free of nicotine. After seeing the success of the 12 steps in Alcoholics Anonymous, several nicotine addicts felt they could utilize the same recovery process to gain relief from their nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction is as severe as any other addiction, so in the program, individuals can learn how to abstain from nicotine one day at a time. Living nicotine-free can help members not only live healthier lives, but they can improve their minds and emotions as well.

Pills Anonymous

Beginning in the early 1970s, Pills Anonymous was developed and modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, using a 12-step recovery format. The only requirement for membership to the fellowship is the desire to stop using pills. Individuals are encouraged to not only abstain from pills, but to also abstain from any mood or mind-altering substances, including alcohol.

With the many negative feelings that go hand-in-hand with pill addiction, members who work their program with effort, rigorous honesty and open-mindedness can achieve sobriety and help others do the same. The organization has grown over the years and has thousands of members in several countries worldwide.