What’s the difference between treatment and Twelve Step support groups?

Twelve Step support groups are a form of peer support. They are the most widely available mutual support groups for people trying to break the cycle of addiction and those in recovery. In addition there are other peer support options including: Women for Sobriety (WFS), SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training), and Secular Organizations for Sobriety/Save Our Selves (SOS).

Although they are not professional treatment, Twelve Step groups can complement and extend the effects of professional treatment.

Professional treatment involves a structured program over time that includes credentialed counseling for substance abuse which is often accompanied by closely supervised medication. This can occur in a treatment facility for in-patient or out-patient clients. Out-patient treatment can also be received in a variety of community based locations.

For specifics, see and download our Family Toolkit.