12 Step Term Glossary

Contents

Below is an index of common terms you might hear as a member of a 12 step program. We’re always looking to update this list so if you have any edit recommendations or new terms to be added, please reach out to us.


12 Concepts

What Does The Term ’12 Concepts’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

As AA became an influential international organization, it grew into a collection of loosely affiliated entities. The 12 concepts are the vision of AA founder Bill W. over how the different entities involved in the fellowship should cooperate.

12 Steps

What Does The Term ’12 Steps’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The primary vehicle of recovery for AA and the organizations inspired by it. The steps guide addicts by acknowledging their flaws and making amends for them. The final steps are designed to help the recovering addict reach spiritual awakening.

12 Step Meeting

What Does The Term ’12 Step Meeting’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Meetings focused on a specific step. Members recount experiences with that step. Their shares will often refer specifically to the material read earlier.

12 Traditions

What Does The Term ’12 Traditions’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

First published in 1946, the traditions are intended to allow the organization to run smoothly while protecting the anonymity of its members. The traditions were designed to resolve internal political struggles, problems of funding, and issues of publicity. These are all considered distractions from genuine work. Adopted by most 12-step programs, they succeeded in allowing groups to focus on recovery.

13th Step / 13th Stepping

What Does The Term ’13th Step or 13th Stepping’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Is the colloquial name given to the problematic tendency of recovering addicts to use meetings for dating purposes. This is not only a distraction from recovery but also makes many female members feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

7th Tradition

What Does The Term ‘7th Tradition ‘ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The 7th of the 12 traditions read “Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” AA groups are not allowed to solicit outside funds. However, they do have expenses such as rent, coffee, literature, and chips. Therefore, members are expected (though not required) to contribute monetarily regularly during meetings.

AA Group

What Does The Term ‘AA Group’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The group is made up of addicted individuals who meet regularly to support their members in recovery. They are self-funding entities with volunteers who lead groups, handle money, and make other arrangements.

AA Meetings

What Does The Term ‘AA Meetings’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

AA holds regular meetings of various types to support the recovery of its members from alcoholism. In these meetings, members read relevant literature and share thoughts on their recovery. These events are designed to provide the social glue reinforcing recovery.

AA Member

What Does The Term ‘AA Member’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An AA member is an addict who is interested in recovering from alcoholism and attends meetings. The entire fellowship is designed for the benefit of its members.

Abstinence

What Does The Term ‘Abstinence’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The act of not partaking in the substance or activity to which a member is addicted. The length of sobriety of addicts is determined following the period of abstinence.

Abuser

What Does The Term ‘Abuser’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An individual who uses a substance or pattern of behavior in an unhealthy way as a coping mechanism. The individual may be an addict or the behavior could be temporary.

Acceptance

What Does The Term ‘Acceptance’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Accepting an inability to cope with addiction alone, is a major part of the recovery process. The same process involves accepting our flaws, responsibility for our actions, and the need to surrender to a Higher Power.

Acute Care

What Does The Term ‘Acute Care’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The care an addict requires during and immediately after suffering from serious symptoms of withdrawal. This involves oversight over the addict and the relevant preparation of the people in the addict’s life to support the recovery process.   

Addict

What Does The Term ‘Addict’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An individual with an unhealthy dependence on a substance or behavior. An individual remains an addict even years into recovery and must therefore remain active in recovery.

Addiction Counselor

What Does The Term ‘Addiction Counselor’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A professional tasked with aiding addicts in recovery. Methods vary but can include one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and crafting action plans. Training varies by region, but it often includes a Master’s degree and on the job training.

Addiction Medicine Physician

What Does The Term ‘Addiction Medicine Physician’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An M.D. within the officially recognized branch of medicine known as addiction medicine. The doctor will specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of substance addicts.

Addiction Psychiatrist

What Does The Term ‘Addiction Psychiatrist’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A psychiatrist specializing in assisting addicts. Aside from the ability to prescribe relevant (usually non-habit forming) drugs, they are also mental health professionals qualified to deal with the emotional background and backlash related to addiction.

Addiction Tourism

What Does The Term ‘Addiction Tourism’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A name for rehab centers designed to attract (usually well off) addicts from other areas and the addicts engaging in this process. They may be designed to attract customers due to the exotic location or in the case of centers in other countries, their lower prices.

Adverse Determination

What Does The Term ‘Adverse Determination’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When addiction services are provided by insurance companies or local government agencies, they may decide to cut benefits based on a revaluation of the situation or any other reason covered in their policies. In that case, they will issue an adverse benefit determination and notify the individual of the reduction or cancellation of addiction services.

Agonist

What Does The Term ‘Agonist’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This is a drug capable of triggering the receptors in the brain, leading to an opioid effect. Heroin, morphine, and opium are prime examples of this category of drugs. There are forms of therapy focusing on this opioid response and designed to wean an individual of dependence.

Al-Anon

What Does The Term ‘Al-Anon’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A group designed for friends and family of alcoholics. Using the 12-step program as adapted to this purpose, it helps affected individuals deal with the consequences of addiction while supporting the addict in their lives.

Alateen

What Does The Term ‘Alateen’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A group established in order to assist younger friends and families of alcoholics deal with the consequences of addiction. It is designed to help youngsters love the addict in their lives without supporting the drinking habit and to remind them that they are not to blame for the situation. 

Alcohol

What Does The Term ‘Alcohol’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An organic compound used in many products, most notably intoxicating drinks. Alcohol addiction is known as alcoholism. The first 12-step program was devised to deal with that malady.

Alcohol Use Disorder

What Does The Term ‘Alcohol Use Disorder’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When problematic use of alcohol turns into a severe medical problem, health professionals refer to the problem as alcohol use disorder. This occurs when an elapsing brain disorder leads to an inability to curtail alcohol intake despite an increasingly significant toll on the life of the addict.

Alcoholic

What Does The Term ‘Alcoholic’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An individual with an unhealthy dependence on alcohol. From the perspective of AA, it is an individual who has lost control over their life due to an inability to stop drinking.

Alcoholics Anonymous

What Does The Term ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The original 12-step fellowship, formed in 1935, to help alcoholics, regain control over their lives. It remains the largest 12-step organization and has contributed to the sobriety of millions worldwide.

Anniversary/Birthday

What Does The Term ‘Anniversary/Birthday’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Also known as a “sobriety birthday”, this marks the time elapsed since an addict last partook of a substance or engaged in the compulsive behavior, they are prone to. Addicts will often state that date at the beginning of meetings and celebrate milestones such as the number of years passed in sobriety.

Medallion/Coin/Token

What Does The Term ‘Medallion/Coin/Token’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A little trinket shaped like a coin given to commemorate sobriety anniversaries. It usually is imprinted with both the amount of time it marks and the moniker “to thine own self be true.” The token is handed out at the end of meetings held when or right after the milestone has been reached.

Anonymity/Anonymous

What Does The Term ‘Anonymity/Anonymous’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Alcoholics Anonymous and all the groups modeled after it, protect the anonymity of its members. Members are forbidden from disclosing the identity of other addicts to outside sources or identifying themselves with the group on any form of public media. The idea behind this is to focus on the welfare of the group and put “principles before personalities.”

Antagonist

What Does The Term ‘Antagonist’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A substance that inhibits the physiological effects of many illicit substances. Used in some addiction treatments such as Naltrexone. The opposite of an agonist.

Barbiturate

What Does The Term ‘Barbiturate’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A drug that works to depress the central nervous system. While having a common effect, they can be highly addictive.

Basic Text

What Does The Term ‘Basic Text’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The first basic text was the Big Book of AA, which accompanied the recovery of alcoholics since its publication. Since then every 12-step program has adopted a handful of basic texts which are used for readings in meetings and to guide their members to recovery. Members are expected to bring them to meetings.

Behavioral Addictions

What Does The Term ‘Behavioral Addictions’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

12-step programs were originally designed to aid with substance abuse. However, many also find it useful to deal with behavior disorders. This can apply to any behavior which is destructive to the individual engaging in it, but which they are unable to control.

Benzodiazepines / Benzos

What Does The Term ‘Benzodiazepines or Benzos’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A type of psychoactive drug used mostly in minor tranquilizers. Drugs containing them such as Chlordiazepoxide are often used to assist in alcohol detoxification.

Big Book

What Does The Term ‘Big Book’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The basic text of AA was the first to methodically introduce the 12-steps. It is still the main source for meetings and is quoted in just about all AA and other 12-step literature. the Library of Congress named it one of the 88 “Books that shaped America.”

Big Book Study Meeting

What Does The Term ‘Big Book Study Meeting’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are detailed and in-depth sessions on specific sections of the Big Book of AA. Usually, part of a chapter is read and then discussed.

Big Book Thumpers

What Does The Term ‘Big Book Thumpers’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A member of AA who takes the Big Book too literally and looks down on anyone who diverges from it in any way. People of this sort will often quote the book and look to it for answers in any circumstances, relevant or not.

Bill W.

What Does The Term ‘Bill W.’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

One of the co-founders of AA. His story is recounted in the Big Book of AA and has inspired millions. Due to his instrumental role in shaping the 12-step program, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most important people of the century.

Binge Drinking

What Does The Term ‘Binge Drinking’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The consumption of several units of alcohol, sometimes it is defined as five or over, in a short period. The purpose of consumption is to achieve significant intoxication. Regular binge drinking is associated with alcoholism and is accompanied by significant health risks.

Biphasic Effect Of Alcohol

What Does The Term ‘Biphasic Effect Of Alcohol’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Alcohol affects the body in two stages. In the first phase, it induces a pleasant feeling. However, once the blood alcohol concentration passes the 0.05 level this change. This is where unpleasant effects such as hangovers and nausea come on.

Blackout

What Does The Term ‘Blackout’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When drinking to excess you may lose your memory of a specific period. The odds of experiencing one are particularly high when blood alcohol concentration passes the 0.22 mark.

Breaking Anonymity

What Does The Term ‘Breaking Anonymity’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The members of AA and other similar 12-step programs are admonished to maintain their anonymity and that of the other members. The 11th tradition states that “we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.” An individual revealing their membership on a very public level, or revealing the identity of other members in any way, is considered to have broken anonymity.

Buprenorphine

What Does The Term ‘Buprenorphine’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An opioid medication intended for pain and often used to combat opioid addiction. As a long-acting drug, it lasts longer in the body than more addictive opioids such as heroin or fentanyl and takes longer for symptoms of withdrawal to occur.

Burning Desire

What Does The Term ‘Burning Desire’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Often before the regular sharing, there will be a share period for those with a “burning desire.” These are defined as members who fear they will break sobriety or practice self-harm if they do not share. Therefore, they are given priority.

Carry The Message

What Does The Term ‘Carry The Message’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The 12th step advises addicts to “carry the message to alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs.” This involves taking on service work, helping newcomers, being sponsors, and living a full and sober life.

Chair

What Does The Term ‘Chair’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The chair or leader of the group is the individual leading discussion in a specific meeting. They run the reading and pick the topic for the meeting. It is also their job to make sure the meeting runs smoothly and the traditions are maintained.

Character Defects

What Does The Term ‘Character Defects’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

While working the 12-steps, individuals are encouraged to take inventory of their character defects and ask their Higher Power to remove them. These problematic personality aspects are often associated with unhealthy behavior and hurting others. Defects are not usually caused by the addiction but may have played a major part in its development.

Clean

What Does The Term ‘Clean’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Physical sobriety from a specific substance on which the individual is dependent. This can refer to either when the substance leaves the system or the amount of time since it was last taken.

Cliches

What Does The Term ‘Cliches’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Often repeated sayings in 12-step programs, such as “one day at a time” or “let go and let god.” Though sometimes tiresome, these cliches have earned a place in the pantheon due to their deeper meaning and usefulness.

Closed Meetings

What Does The Term ‘Closed Meetings’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The typical 12-step program is closed to individuals who are not addicts interested in recovery. This structure is designed to protect anonymity.

Cocaine

What Does The Term ‘Cocaine’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A strong stimulant developed initially for medical purposes, but now used primarily as a recreational drug. It is an addictive drug; however, it induces mental rather than physical withdrawal symptoms.

Codeine

What Does The Term ‘Codeine’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An opiate is often used to treat moderate pain and maladies such as diarrhea. It is more readily available than other opiates due to its use in cough syrups and therefore is easier to abuse.

Cold Turkey

What Does The Term ‘Cold Turkey’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This refers to a complete and immediate cessation of ingesting substances or engaging in behavior one is addicted to.

Compulsive Behaviors

What Does The Term ‘Compulsive Behaviors’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are behaviors in engaging in due to a strong urge to do so. Compulsion may be difficult to control but is mostly manageable. If compulsion turns into addiction, the problem becomes more severe.

Conference Approved Literature

What Does The Term ‘Conference Approved Literature’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

12-step fellowships have periodical meetings, usually annually, where they discuss organizational business including appropriate literature. New literature must be approved by the governing body before it can be used in meetings. Indeed, mentioning other literature in meetings is not allowed.

Conscious Contact

What Does The Term ‘Conscious Contact’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Building a relationship with a Higher Power is a crucial element in recovery. This involves conscious contact with a Higher Power through prayer and meditation regularly.

Controlled Drinking

What Does The Term ‘Controlled Drinking’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An increasingly popular approach to alcohol addiction which encourages individuals to move to moderate social drinking rather than striving for absolute sobriety.

Coping Strategies

What Does The Term ‘Coping Strategies’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When recovering from addiction, it may be necessary to change your way of life in meaningful ways to avoid relapse. This involves developing and applying coping strategies such as building a support network or developing your spiritual practices.

Craving

What Does The Term ‘Craving’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The urge to engage in the behavior you are addicted to, particularly when you have not done so for an extended period. These usually occur with greater frequency in the earlier years of recovery.

Cross Talk or Crosstalk

What Does The Term ‘Cross Talk or Crosstalk’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When members share in a 12-step program, they are to be allowed to speak without interruption or later reference to their share. Crosstalk is behavior such as speaking directly to an individual instead of the group, giving advice to others directly, or interrupting and touching an individual while sharing.  It is up to the chair to prevent this from occurring.

Cross-Dependence

What Does The Term ‘Cross-Dependence’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When an attempt is made to move an individual from dependence on one substance to another. In addiction therapy, it usually refers to replacing dependence on a dangerous drug such as heroin with a less harmful substitute such as methadone.

Cross-Tolerance

What Does The Term ‘Cross-Tolerance’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Overtime individuals develop a tolerance to substances used regularly. In some cases, this can contribute to tolerance to other substances with similar functions or effects as well. Due to cross-tolerance one may have a tolerance to a drug they have never taken.

Daily Inventory

What Does The Term ‘Daily Inventory’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Step 4 recommends an “a searching and fearless moral inventory” of the entire life of the addict. However, the process does not end there. As part of recovery, it is advisable to hold yourself accountable and examine yourself daily. See step 10.

Daily Reprieve

What Does The Term ‘Daily Reprieve’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

In the AA conception, alcoholism is a lifelong condition. However, by following the 12-steps, an individual may enjoy a daily reprieve from the condition based on “one day at a time.” Achieving the reprieve requires constant communication with a Higher Power. 

Deaths Of Despair

What Does The Term ‘Deaths Of Despair’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Some researchers tie together deaths from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism as products of the same underlying cause: despair. This approach sees addition as tied to depression. It also sees despair as the product of social maladies such as economic inequality, rather than the product of physical or moral deficits.  

Delirium Tremens

What Does The Term ‘Delirium Tremens’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A few days into withdrawal from alcohol (perhaps 2-3) an individual may experience severe confusion. This is often accompanied by other symptoms such as shaking, shivering, and hallucinations. This is a dangerous part of withdrawal, best addressed through medication.

Denial

What Does The Term ‘Denial’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Addicts can spend years showing clear symptoms of out of control behavior without admitting the severity of the problem to themselves or others. It often takes an external shock such as losing a job, imprisonment, or public humiliation to break the hold of denial.

Depressant

What Does The Term ‘Depressant’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These substances are sometimes referred to as “downers” as they tend to slow brain activity and heart rate, putting the consumer in a more relaxed state. These substances are habit-forming. They can also be dangerous as if they are taken in exaggerated quantities or mixed with other substances (in particular alcohol), which can cause death.

Designer Drugs

What Does The Term ‘Designer Drugs’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are drugs designed to mimic or approximate the effects of illegal substances, without being classified as controlled substances. Therefore, until law enforcement catches on, these powerful drugs may be legally purchased. Designer drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal equivalents.

Deterrence

What Does The Term ‘Deterrence’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Attempts by government and law enforcement to curtail the drug trade and drug use by using heavy sentences and zero-tolerance policies. The most famous example of this was the “War on Drugs” in the 1980s.

Detox

What Does The Term ‘Detox’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An important step in recovery from harmful substances. This is the process of allowing the body to recover from the damage done through overconsumption. When dependence is very heavy, detox should be done under medical professional oversight.

Dirty

What Does The Term ‘Dirty’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Since a sober individual is often referred to as clean when substances are taken addicts are sometimes called “dirty.” Similarly, drug tests are referred to as dirty or clean following the results. The use of the term can be harmful as it stigmatizes addicts.

Discussion Meeting

What Does The Term ‘Discussion Meeting’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are 12-step fellowship meetings focusing on a specific topic for discussion. They start with the chair discussing their experiences in relation to a specific topic before opening it up to wider discussion. Topics can include (for example) acceptance, forgiveness or making amends.

Disease

What Does The Term ‘Disease’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Some refer to addiction as a disease, comparing it to physical ailments. There are similarities, as both have a detrimental influence on body and soul and are treatable through medical means.

Disease Model Of Addiction

What Does The Term ‘Disease Model Of Addiction’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The idea that addiction can be treated as any other disease through medical attention. This is justified through the genetic components in addiction and the severe physical consequences which may accompany it.

Dope Sick

What Does The Term ‘Dope Sick’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The physical discomfort associated with withdrawal from substances such as heroin. The user experiences symptoms similar to the flu or other sicknesses. This occurs within 6-12 hours of consuming the relevant drug and can last for days.

Dr. Bob

What Does The Term ‘Dr. Bob’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

One of the two founders of AA, Robert Holbrook Smith was a physician and surgeon. The date of his final drink, June 10, 1935, is marked as the day AA was founded. He never drank again. 

Drug

What Does The Term ‘Drug’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A name for a wide variety of chemical substances capable of altering the function of your mind and body in significant ways. These can include over the counter prescriptions, alcohol, and controlled substances. Most drugs are either physically and/or psychologically habit-forming.

Drug Abuse / Substance Abuse

What Does The Term ‘Drug Abuse / Substance Abuse’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The use of a drug in a quantity that is harmful to the user mentally or physically. Death and serious harm are usually caused by regular abuse rather than the casual use of drugs.

Drug Classes

What Does The Term ‘Drug Classes’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A term referring to the organization of different drugs either by their effects, compounds, or legal classification. In terms of the law, drugs are classified from the most dangerous to the least on a scale of A (the most dangerous) to C (the least). In terms of effects, drugs are often classified as one of the following: stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, dissociative, opioids, inhalants, cannabis.

Drug Courts

What Does The Term ‘Drug Courts’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Official court designed for pragmatic solutions to drug offenses, often involving rehabilitation and treatment. This process has shown a great deal of promise and is far more effective than deterrence-based punishment in these cases.

Drug Dream

What Does The Term ‘Drug Dream’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Drug-related dreams are common both amongst suffering addicts and recovering ones. These are dreams about drug use or themes associated with drug use and addiction. They produce a sense of anxiety and are unfortunately associated with relapse.

Drug Policy

What Does The Term ‘Drug Policy’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Policy towards the use of drugs is not only a public health problem, it is also a political and social issue. Drug abuse creates a severe strain on the healthcare system, the criminal justice system, and the economy. All of the sectors should cooperate to craft a coherent and pragmatic national drug policy. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Drunk Dream

What Does The Term ‘Drunk Dream’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An alcoholic may dream that they are returning to their pre-sobriety habits. This often involves drinking one of their favorite drinks and engaging in destructive behavior associated with the darker times in their lives. These dreams can have detrimental effects on the dreamer and are a challenge to sobriety.

Drunkalogue

What Does The Term ‘Drunkalogue’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This refers to the story, often harrowing, recounting the history of alcohol abuse as rendered by a recovering alcoholic. These monologues are often given at AA meetings and are particularly associated with first-timer meetings.

Dry Drunk

What Does The Term ‘Dry Drunk’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

According to the AA approach, abstinence is necessary but not sufficient. A dry drunk is an individual who does not drink anymore but continues to engage in the unhealthy lifestyle associated with addiction.

DSM-5

What Does The Term ‘DSM-5’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published and updated occasionally by the American Psychiatric Association. It includes the latest definitions and treatments for substance use and other addictive disorders.

Dual Diagnosis

What Does The Term ‘Dual Diagnosis’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Addiction to a certain substance or behavior is a diagnosable condition. However, it is often related to other recognized disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. The two conditions may interact in various manners and therefore diagnosis of both is essential for treatment.

Early Recovery

What Does The Term ‘Early Recovery’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The first and vulnerable stages of recovery from addiction. This can range between the first 90 days and the first year or so into the recovery process. This is a crucial part of the process, where the recovering addict rebuilds their lives in preparation for a life of sobriety.

Ebby Thatcher

What Does The Term ‘Ebby Thatcher’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Former drinking buddy and later sponsor and inspiration to AA founder Bill W., Ebby Thatcher pioneered major elements of the 12-steps. It was Thatcher who inspired Bill W. to remain sober and his visits to the founder inspired the social support element of the fellowship.

Ecstasy

What Does The Term ‘Ecstasy’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A popular name for a controlled substance containing MDMA. It dramatically alters mood towards unreasonable happiness (hence the name). This synthetic drug is associated with raves and dance parties. Nonetheless, consumption is highly risky and has been known to cause death.

Enabling

What Does The Term ‘Enabling’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Enabling behavior is any action taken by individuals in the life of an addict, making it easier for them to pursue destructive or addictive behavior. This can include making excuses for the addict, covering for them, or shielding them from the consequences of their actions.

Fellowship

What Does The Term ‘Fellowship’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This refers to the members of AA and the bonds of support between them. It is this fellowship that allows addicts to share their stories and accept each other in a world that is not always understanding.

Fentanyl

What Does The Term ‘Fentanyl’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An opioid used for pain management, which has emerged as a popular recreational drug. It is at least 100 times stronger than morphine. As a result of its strength and popularity, it has become the leading opioid leading to death by overdoes.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

What Does The Term ‘Fetal Alcohol Syndrome’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A condition that is harmful to a fetus exposed by its mother to alcohol. It results in a variety of symptoms such as cognitive and developmental disorders. Heavy drinking during pregnancy should be avoided as these symptoms are irreversible.

Gabapentin

What Does The Term ‘Gabapentin’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A drug used to treat partial seizures and is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. It is also useful in reducing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and craving.

Geographical Cure

What Does The Term ‘Geographical Cure’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The idea, or usually illusion, that addiction can be treated by changing the geographical surroundings. The emotional problems which led to addiction follow individuals wherever they go.

Grapevine

What Does The Term ‘Grapevine’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The official journal of AA, was intended as the voice of the members since its founding by Bill W. in 1946. Its articles and topics are staples in meetings throughout the world.

Gratitude

What Does The Term ‘Gratitude’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Addiction is often a product of a sense of incompleteness. The expression of gratitude for the many things in our life can counter that need and improve the lives of the addict immeasurably. Therefore, the cultivation of gratitude is an essential part of the 12-step program.

H.A.L.T.

What Does The Term ‘H.A.L.T.’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. When an addict feels weak and as if a relapse is a possibility, they are encouraged to examine I they are influenced by any of the feelings associated with H.A.L.T. Often when those basic needs are satisfied, the craving is more easily managed. Self-care is an important part of recovery.

Hallucinogen

What Does The Term ‘Hallucinogen’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A psychoactive agent that causes hallucinations in the user regularly. These include psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. These drugs tend to be less addictive than other recreational drugs, but do have links to mental instability and illness.

Harm Reduction

What Does The Term ‘Harm Reduction’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Non-judgmental and non-coercive strategies to help addicts lessen the detrimental effects of substance abuse. The approach is often based on circumscribed use rather than abstinence. These measures can include using substances in a safe environment or needle exchange programs. with someone they trust, and needle exchange programs for people who inject drugs. 

Heroin

What Does The Term ‘Heroin’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An opioid used as a recreational drug that is often injected. It has a euphoric effect on the user and is highly addictive both psychologically and physically. It is known for being one of the primary drugs involved in opioid overdoses and for its particularly nasty withdrawal symptoms.

High Bottom or High Bottom Drunk

What Does The Term ‘High Bottom or High Bottom Drunk’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An addict entering addiction without doing very serious damage to their lives. They are sometimes referred to as “high-functioning” addicts.

Higher Power

What Does The Term ‘Higher Power’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

12-step programs greatly stress surrender to and daily communication with a Higher Power. Having trust in something greater than yourself is considered essential for returning sanity in the unmanageable life of an addict. This can be a traditional deity, a spiritual entity or a social one such as the 12-step group.

Hitting Rock Bottom

What Does The Term ‘Hitting Rock Bottom’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A colloquial phrase referring to a situation wherein an addict has lost much and suffered greatly as a result of their addiction and seek treatment. The idea is that when an addict reaches a place where they have nothing to lose, they realize something must change in their lives.

Home Group

What Does The Term ‘Home Group’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The group you attend most often and in which you get to know the other members well. The group may be chosen because of its convenience, or because of an affinity with the people involved or their approach. It is recommended that every member of a 12-step fellowship have one, even if they regularly attend meetings elsewhere.

Hydrocodone

What Does The Term ‘Hydrocodone’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An opioid prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Even short-term use can be habit forming. Detox from Hydrocodone can involve serious withdrawal symptoms.

Ibogaine

What Does The Term ‘Ibogaine’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A psychoactive alkaloid which can induce a profound psychedelic state in large doses. In the correct dosage it can ease substance withdrawal and prevent cravings. The process is similar to natural detox but less painful.

ICD-10

What Does The Term ‘ICD-10’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems as released by the World Health Organization. It contains the internationally defined criteria for substance abuse.

Inhalant

What Does The Term ‘Inhalant’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This refers to the practice of inhaling commonly found household products in order to obtain stimulation. This practice is particularly common amongst teenagers and can be highly harmful and addictive.

In-Patient Treatment

What Does The Term ‘In-Patient Treatment’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are full-time treatments where the addict engages in intensive, residential treatment designed for serious addictions. These programs usually require consent and allow the addict access to 24-hour emotional and medical support.

Integrated Treatment Programs:

What Does The Term ‘Integrated Treatment Programs: ‘ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A system wherein all providers related to the care of an individual patient sharing relevant medical. Information and overall treatment goals. This is a useful approach for combatting addiction, since substance dependence has physical, emotional and social ramifications.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

What Does The Term ‘Intensive Outpatient Treatment’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Some addicts need intensive emotional and medical assistance, but cannot be away from their community for extended periods. An intensive outpatient program allows an individual to continue to engage in work, school, or family obligations while treating all aspects of addiction.

Intervention

What Does The Term ‘Intervention’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When an addict is in denial or refuses to get help, the people in their lives sometimes find it necessary to impress upon the individual that they require immediate treatment. An intervention usually involves confronting the addict with the impact of their destructive behavior; a recovery plan and perhaps the unpleasant consequences of a refusal to get help. This process should be conducted with the help of a licensed professional.

Inventory

What Does The Term ‘Inventory’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Step 4 recommends the addict conduct “a searching and fearless moral inventory.” This involves coming to terms with the flaws which preceded addiction and those that came as a result of it. It may also refer to the maintenance inventory in step 10.

It Works If You Work It

What Does The Term ‘It Works If You Work It’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A common 12-step saying, often used at the end of meetings. “Working it” refers to the steps. The idea behind the saying is that if you follow the 12-steps, you will be able to maintain recovery and healthy life.

Keep Coming

What Does The Term ‘Keep Coming’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A saying often used in 12-step meetings. It refers to the benefits of continuous attendance at meetings and the benefits of engagement with the fellowship.

Lapse/Slip

What Does The Term ‘Lapse/Slip’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A momentary loss of focus on the road to recovery which is quickly rectified. It differs from relapse, which suggests a complete return to pre-recovery patterns of behavior.

Long Term Recovery

What Does The Term ‘Long Term Recovery’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The continual process of recovery from addiction which follows the completion of the immediate course of treatment. This is how recovery is maintained over the years and decades after a surer footing in life has been obtained. 

Low Bottom/Low Bottom Drunk

What Does The Term ‘Low Bottom/Low Bottom Drunk’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An individual who has “hit rock bottom” as a result of addiction and has lost family, jobs, or spent time in jail. Low-bottom drunks enter recovery out of the realization that they have no choice.

Maintenance Dose

What Does The Term ‘Maintenance Dose’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The provision of a less dangerous opioid to addicts as a substitute for more dangerous ones as a means of reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These treatments have been in common use for decades and usually are methadone based.

Mandated Treatment

What Does The Term ‘Mandated Treatment’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

At times an individual in trouble with the law for the use of controlled substances, may receive treatment ordered by the criminal justice system. Individuals opting for this may be forced into treatment against their will, but it could keep the individual from incarceration.

Marijuana

What Does The Term ‘Marijuana’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant is perhaps the most common recreational drug in the world. It has strong medicinal benefits but can also cause physical harm and psychological dependence. Marijuana has a much lower social stigma than in the past and is now legal in many countries and U.S. states.

Medication Assisted Detox

What Does The Term ‘Medication Assisted Detox’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Detox is the process by which a harmful substance leaves the body. This can be a very painful and uncomfortable process. When assisted through medication, the process may be rendered more comfortable and sustainable.

Medication Assisted Treatment

What Does The Term ‘Medication Assisted Treatment’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

There is an entire branch of medicine dedicated to assisting recovery, managing withdrawal symptoms, and preventing overdose. Medication can be instrumental in facilitating these treatments.

Member of

What Does The Term ‘Member of’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An individual who attends 12-step program meetings and has the desire to overcome addiction.

Methadone

What Does The Term ‘Methadone’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A relatively weak and long-lasting opiate. Due to these characteristics, it is used for opioid maintenance therapy, usually as a replacement for heroin. It can also be used for chronic pain management.

Methamphetamines

What Does The Term ‘Methamphetamines’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A central nervous system stimulant used as a recreational drug. Commonly known as meth, it is one of the most popular and destructive drugs in the United States. Its consumption and production involve major health and societal risks.

Moderate Drinking

What Does The Term ‘Moderate Drinking’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The U.S. Department of Health defines moderate drinking as “up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.” While AA preaches abstinence from alcohol, some believe that it is more sustainable to help alcoholics drink more moderately.

Morphine

What Does The Term ‘Morphine’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Morphine is a prescribed drug that is often abused and can be habit-forming. It is used recreationally, often by snorting. Morphine addiction can also form when used as prescribed.

Naloxone

What Does The Term ‘Naloxone’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A drug useful for blocking the effects of opioids. It is therefore utilized to prevent decreased breathing in an overdose situation. Also, when used in conjunction with dangerous opioids, it can limit the risk of dangerous misuse.

Naltrexone

What Does The Term ‘Naltrexone’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A drug prescribed to addicts to ease craving in the period following detox.

Nar-Anon

What Does The Term ‘Nar-Anon’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A 12-step organization established to assist the friends and family members of those who are affected by someone else’s drug addiction. It is completely separate from while working in conjunction with the Narcotics Anonymous fellowship.

Narcotic

What Does The Term ‘Narcotic’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A term associated with opiates and opioids. It is often used incorrectly in common parlance as an alternative term for all illegal drugs. 

Narcotics Anonymous

What Does The Term ‘Narcotics Anonymous’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

NA is the second-largest 12-step program. Formed in 1953, it is designed to help those who wish to recover from drug addiction.

Natural Recovery

What Does The Term ‘Natural Recovery’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The process by which an individual ceases to act on their addiction without receiving any type of treatment. This process may be quite common but is under-reported by nature.

Newcomer

What Does The Term ‘Newcomer’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An individual attending a 12-step meeting for the first time. In most cases, they meet with a veteran member first.

Nicotine

What Does The Term ‘Nicotine’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A stimulant naturally produced and present in tobacco. It is highly addictive and therefore one of the most problematic elements associated with smoking. It can be used in gum and patches to aid addicts in withdrawal from smoking.

NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”)

What Does The Term ‘NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”)’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An acronym describing the opposition of residents to having addiction treatment facilities in their neighborhood. The idea is that many people may support the existence of treatment centers in general, they will not support their existence near their residence. 

Ninety In Ninety (90 in 90)

What Does The Term ‘Ninety In Ninety (90 in 90)’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The process of going to ninety meetings in the same amount of days. Since the first 90 days of recovery are considered the most unstable, going to a meeting every day may be a good way to reinforce the process and prevent relapse.

Old-Timer

What Does The Term ‘Old-Timer’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A veteran member of a 12-step fellowship. This usually refers to individuals with over a decade of sobriety.

One-Stepper

What Does The Term ‘One-Stepper’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Members who come into the program and work the first step, but never seem to progress beyond it, despite attending meetings for a long period.

Open Meeting

What Does The Term ‘Open Meeting’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Meetings open to the general public. These are useful for giving friends and relatives an idea of what goes on in and recovery and increasing the legitimacy of 12-step fellowships.

Opiate

What Does The Term ‘Opiate’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Natural mind-altering compounds that are primarily prescribed for pain management. It either contains opium or has similar effects.

Opioid

What Does The Term ‘Opioid’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Compounds acting on opioid receptors in the body, whether naturally occurring or synthetic. Their use can lead to the development of crippling physical dependence. Whether used through a prescription for pain management or recreationally, its overuse in the United States has been classified as a national crisis.

Over-The-Counter Medications (OTC)

What Does The Term ‘Over-The-Counter Medications (OTC)’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are drugs available at pharmacies without a prescription. Though they tend to be less powerful than illicit or prescription drugs, they can still be abused. The most commonly abused OTC substances include cough medicines, cold medicines, and motion sickness pills.

Oxford Group/Oxford Group Movement

What Does The Term ‘Oxford Group/Oxford Group Movement’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A Christian movement of self-improvement, highly popular in the 1930s Its founder Frank Buchman believed all human problems derive from selfishness. The founders of AA were members and used many of the tenets of the movement for the 12-steps.

Oxycodone

What Does The Term ‘Oxycodone’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An opioid sold to treat moderate to severe pain. It is particularly popular in the form of the Oxycontin drug. It is highly habit-forming and overdoses of Oxycodone are particularly dangerous.

Peer Support Group

What Does The Term ‘Peer Support Group’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This is a group led by and including individuals going through similar experiences. An example could be the wives of drug addicts meeting regularly. Sharing experiences with individuals and feeling less alone as a result can have strong mental health benefits.

Physical Dependence

What Does The Term ‘Physical Dependence’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When the body of a user adapts to functioning with the drug, this can have serious consequences. An ever-larger quantity is needed to feel the same high. It also complicates rehab as detox is required and withdrawal symptoms can be highly uncomfortable.

Pigeon

What Does The Term ‘Pigeon’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A 12-step term for a newcomer. It was initially used to refer to an individual referred to the program by co-founder Dr. Bob.

Pink Cloud

What Does The Term ‘Pink Cloud’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The first few months of sobriety are often accompanied by a sense of elation which is referred to as a “pink cloud.” Recovering addicts need to be prepared for when that period ends and life in recovery becomes a bit more real and monotonous.

Preamble

What Does The Term ‘Preamble’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The Big Book of AA contains a preamble that lays out the basic principles and purposes of the fellowship. This is customarily read out at the beginning of meetings to set the tone.

Prescription Medications

What Does The Term ‘Prescription Medications’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Medications can only be obtained with the written approval of an MD. Due to their potency and legality; prescription drugs have greatly overtaken illicit drugs and are used far more. Prescription drug abuse, particularly of opiates used for pain management, is one of the central causes of the opiate crisis in the United States. 

Program

What Does The Term ‘Program’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This refers to any official course of treatment for addiction. This could be anything from in-patient facilities, to 12-step programs to harm-reduction programs.

Recovering Addict

What Does The Term ‘Recovering Addict’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This refers to any individual currently making strides towards overcoming their addiction to alcohol or any other substance or harmful behavior. In many 12-step programs, an individual is considered an addict for the rest of their lives. Some approaches believe this moniker can be harmful to long-term recovery.

Recovery

What Does The Term ‘Recovery’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The process by which addicts attempt to break the hold a certain substance or behavior has on their lives. This can refer to participation in a wide variety of methods. What they all have in common, is a sense that life is improving and the addict is regaining control.

Recovery Coach/Sober Coach

What Does The Term ‘Recovery Coach/Sober Coach ‘ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Strongly related to the life coach tradition, a recovery coach is hired by an addict to help them tailor a manageable path to recovery.

Recovery Rates

What Does The Term ‘Recovery Rates’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The rate at which individuals engaged in a form of recovery achieve a more stable and manageable lifestyle. There are many definitions of recovery and therefore rates may differ significantly.

Rehab

What Does The Term ‘Rehab’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Rehabilitation from addiction to a substance or harmful behavior. The term is often used to refer to in-patient facilities. Rehab usually consists of an intensive course of behavior modification which may include therapy, medication, and oversight.

Relapse

What Does The Term ‘Relapse’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The act of returning to the harmful behavior associated with addiction after or during a process of recovery. This often involves a return to general destructive patterns of behavior.

Residential Treatment

What Does The Term ‘Residential Treatment’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The practice of living in a facility that provides tools to help an individual recover from addiction. This involves staying at a treatment center for a month or so. The addict will often receive therapy and medication and engage in fulfilling activities.

Secretary Break

What Does The Term ‘Secretary Break’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When the Secretary of a 12-step group makes an announcement or asks for contributions following the 7th tradition.

Serenity

What Does The Term ‘Serenity’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

One of the goals of recovery in 12-steps and many other formats is the attainment of serenity. It is dissatisfaction and disquiet which often drives addictive and destructive behavior and attaining a level of serenity nips cravings in the bud. In 12-step fellowships, this is often cultivated through meditation and prayer.

Serenity Prayer

What Does The Term ‘Serenity Prayer’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The prayer is: “God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference. It is almost universally recited at 12-step meetings and is meant to foster acceptance of the will of the Higher Power and encourage serenity amongst members.

Service / Service Position

What Does The Term ‘Service/ Service Position ‘ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

AA and other 12-step fellowships do not normally have employees. Instead, members volunteer and take roles necessary for the operation of the different groups and the larger infrastructure of the fellowship. Common roles of service include secretary, treasurer, and chairing meetings.

Shame

What Does The Term ‘Shame’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Feelings of shame and inadequacy often contribute both to the onset of addiction and its continuation. Addicts also often commit immoral acts, leading to further shame. This leads to a destructive shame-addiction cycle. Breaking the cycle is one of the keys to recovery.

Sharing

What Does The Term ‘Sharing’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

12-step meetings are structured so that member sharing takes up most of the allotted time. It is the bread and butter of the fellowship between members. When sharing, addicts are encouraged to stay on topic and avoid interrupting by engaging in crosstalk.

Slippery Slope

What Does The Term ‘Slippery Slope’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Activities or forms of behavior that are likely to trigger a relapse or slip. These can include going to bars or any other place which is conducive to the behavior to which one is addicted.

Sober/Sobriety

What Does The Term ‘Sober/Sobriety ‘ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

In 12-step programs, an individual is sober when they are no longer partaking in the behavior or substance to which they are addicted and living a better life following the program. Both are necessary to achieve sobriety.

Social Detox

What Does The Term ‘Social Detox’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Social model detox is done through counseling and therapy, without medical intervention.

Sponsee / Sponsor

What Does The Term ‘Sponsee/Sponsor ‘ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An individual in a 12-step program requires a sponsor to help them work the steps and hold them accountable for their recovery. The sponsor should be readily available when help is needed. A member with a sponsor is considered the sponsee.

Steps

What Does The Term ‘Steps’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The steps are a practical guide to recovery and full spiritual life, laid out in the Big Book of AA, and used by a large number of groups ever since. By definition, a 12-step program is based on the belief that recovery is best facilitated by diligently working the steps.

Step Study or Step Study Meetings

What Does The Term ‘Step Study or Step Study Meetings’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Meetings focusing specifically on the different facets of one of the 12-steps involved in working the program.

Stigma

What Does The Term ‘Stigma’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Every addiction carries with it a certain amount of disapproval, which can also lead to discrimination. This is known as stigma. This can vary greatly following the specific addiction.

Stimulant

What Does The Term ‘Stimulant’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are drugs that act on the central nervous system, and increase alertness. They are commonly used to treat learning disabilities. Also, some of the most commonly abused drugs fall into this category, including amphetamines, methylphenidates, and dextroamphetamines.

Suboxone

What Does The Term ‘Suboxone’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A drug used to treat opioid addiction. It can also be prescribed for pain management.

Substance Misuse

What Does The Term ‘Substance Misuse’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When an individual uses prescription drugs irresponsibly or in contravention to the orders of a doctor or pharmacist but not to use drugs recreationally. For example, taking an extra sleeping pill or offering a prescription drug to a friend.

Substance Use Disorder

What Does The Term ‘Substance Use Disorder’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A disease leading to the inability to control the use of drugs or medication. It manifests in continued use despite clear evidence of harm accrued as a result of consumption.

Synthetic

What Does The Term ‘Synthetic’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

These are drugs made of artificial chemicals rather than natural ingredients. Some of the more popular ones include Ecstasy, LSD, and methamphetamines.

Synthetic Marijuana

What Does The Term ‘Synthetic Marijuana’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Designer drugs, made of a class of molecules that affect the same receptors as cannabis. They are sometimes designed to avoid illegal classifications. The drug can be quite dangerous as different chemicals are sometimes used in the process.

Taper

What Does The Term ‘Taper’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A method of weaning a user off a drug or medication they are dependent on. By taking increasingly lower doses, the body can gradually adjust to sobriety and avoid some of the more severe withdrawal symptoms. This should be done with the aid of professionals.

Terminally Unique

What Does The Term ‘Terminally Unique’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A term describing an individual who believes they are too special to benefit from methods of treatment. This can manifest as a sense that an individual is superior to other addicts and therefore can learn little from their experience.  It can also be a malady when an individual thinks their case is so bad, nothing will ever help. Recovery can benefit from an addict understanding they are not so special after all.

The Rooms

What Does The Term ‘The Rooms’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A common 12-step moniker for the place where meetings are held. It can also refer to the atmosphere and fellowship in meetings.

Three Legacies

What Does The Term ‘Three Legacies’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The three legacies of AA are recovery, unity, and service. Recovery is the major goal of the fellowship, while the unity of the organization and service to it is necessary to accomplish it.

Three-Fold Illness

What Does The Term ‘Three-Fold Illness’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

12-step programs hold that addiction has three elements: mental, physical, and spiritual. Recovery must address all three to be healthy and sustainable.

Tolerance

What Does The Term ‘Tolerance’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

The reaction of the body to an increased amount of a controlled substance. When an ever-greater quantity of the substance is necessary to obtain a high, the body has developed a greater tolerance.

Tough Love

What Does The Term ‘Tough Love’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

This is practiced when a person who cares for an addict treats them in a stern and unsentimental way, to make the consequences and severity of the addiction clear to them. This can be necessary. Unfortunately, kindness and sympathy can end up enabling the addict.

Treatment

What Does The Term ‘Treatment’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A blanket term for concentrated efforts to help addicts transition to a healthier life. These can include any of the following (in isolation or combination): therapy, counseling, medication, harm reduction, or moderation.

Trigger

What Does The Term ‘Trigger’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Internal and external cues which when encountered increase the cravings of an addict for the substance or behavior on which they are dependent. This can include a certain smell, place, or person the addict associates with trauma or use.

Twelve & Twelve (12 & 12)

What Does The Term ‘Twelve & Twelve (12 & 12)’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

Refers to the 12-steps and the 12-traditions. The combination of the two is the core of the approach of AA and similar organizations to recovery and maintaining the fellowship which sustains it.

Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF)

What Does The Term ‘Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF)’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

A set of semi-structured therapies designed to first help addicts abstain from substances and behaviors on which they are dependent. Then to encourage and help the afflicted join 12-step fellowships.

Two-Stepper / Two-Stepping

What Does The Term ‘Two-Stepper/Two-Stepping ‘ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

AA parlance for individuals who complete step one and act as if they have completed all the steps. Individuals of this sort participate in meetings and impart wisdom, and offer to provide service despite not putting in the work necessary for recovery.

White Knuckling

What Does The Term ‘White Knuckling’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

An anxious form of sobriety where the addict avoids indulging using willpower alone. This is usually unsustainable, as recovery is better based on building a healthier attitude and way of life.

Withdrawal

What Does The Term ‘Withdrawal’ Mean In 12 Step Programs?

When the body gets acclimatized to some-habit-forming substances, there can be adverse consequences when they are not consumed regularly. The unpleasant feelings associated with cessation of consumption are notably severe regarding heroin and alcohol. They can even be fatal without the provision of medical attention.

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