A 12-step program for substance abuse uses a series of progressive growth markers to track recovery from addiction, as Recovery.org explains. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are just two of these types of groups that have emerged to help addicts find recovery and peace.
The original 12-step program focused on the role that God, religion and spirituality play in the lives of those who are ready for transformation. However, as of 2015, the amount of religion that enters the conversation varies with the preferences of the individual group. One tradition that remains is absolute confidentiality because the assumption is that everyone in the group maintains anonymity. Nothing that comes up in group discussion is supposed to be mentioned outside the meetings, according to Recovery.org.
No matter which type of addiction a person is trying to manage, group participants are encouraged to take a sponsor within the group. A sponsor is someone who has made it through the steps of the program and is willing to act as a source of support for new participants, providing them with guidance through the various steps. The purpose of the sponsor is for the participant to have a strong relationship with a mentor who knows the issues with which the participant struggles and can provide insights that are not likely to be available in other settings, according to Recovery.org.