A-Z Teen Health Glossary

At Paradigm, we recognize the 12-Step Program as a useful and valuable resource in treating Substance Abuse Disorders.  While certain treatment programs rely heavily if not solely on this strategy toward teen addiction and substance abuse treatment, we recognize it and implement it as just one of many approaches and successful avenues to use in treatment; one great tool among a number of others that we draw upon regularly.  Accordingly, it’s important to recognize that we do not implement the program as part of all our substance abuse treatment plans, but make careful considerations for each individual teen, as to whether the program would be well-suited for his/her particular needs.


The 12-Step Program is a set of guiding principles that outlines the actions necessary to recover from addiction.  Originally designed and proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous specifically for alcohol abuse recovery, the method was adapted from here and has now become the 12-Step Program, implemented in a number of different treatment settings and contexts, most prominently for addiction, but sometimes for other behavioral struggles as well.  The American Psychological Association states the steps as follows:


  • Admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion;
  • Recognizing a higher power that can give strength;
  • Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);
  • Making amends for these errors;
  • Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
  • Helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.


Our approach to the 12-Step Program reflects our approach to teen treatment as a whole, which is our firm commitment to drawing upon any and all of the most effective and successful treatment modalities available in order to strategically create the most individualized treatment plans for teens.  In approaching Substance Abuse treatment in this manner, we have no preconceived notions or agendas toward including or not including any particular modality of treatment, including the 12-Steps.  With this being said, we also recognize that the 12-Steps can be very powerful for certain individuals, and can help certain teens to achieve and maintain their sobriety because of the growth they experience and the foundation they build through the program.  And because we recognize these successes within the 12-Step Program, we aim to implement it in treatment plans of teens whom we feel will significantly benefit in this way.


We believe this is one of the fundamental differences that makes Paradigm stand out among other treatment centers, where the 12-Step Programs can sometimes be automatically used in any and all treatment plans, sometimes even in instances when substance abuse is not a predominant factor in the teen’s life.  This can be especially true in larger treatment centers, where the number of teens largely prohibits the treatment teams from being able to spend the necessary time and other resources to individualize treatment plans on a case-by-case basis.  So instead, these treatment teams implement strategies that are designed to treat symptoms, rather than individuals.  Meaning, that if an adolescent is struggling with alcohol abuse, the 12-Step Program automatically becomes a cornerstone of that teen’s treatment plan, even if the more significant, underlying reason for the alcohol use is the symptoms of anxiety and depression that the teen is experiencing.  Along with so many other wonderful attributes of our small treatment center, our staff-to-teen ratio allows us to give every teen our full and most careful attention, every step of the way.  This results in creation and implementation of treatment plans that address and treat the underlying beliefs and behaviors at play in the teens’ lives, so that they have the best possible opportunity for a full and lasting recovery.