The benefits of a Minnesota Model programme supported by the 12 steps in addiction recovery

The Minnesota Model

As the name suggests the Minnesota Model originated in Minnesota under the Hazelden Foundation. The programme initially started as a type of ‘guest house’ for alcoholics which at the time was revolutionary. The programme for treatment revolved around responsible behaviour, attending 12 step meetings at AA, interacting with other patients and abstaining from alcohol consumption. The overall aim was to encourage addicts to move from a “life of isolation to a life of dialogue”.


During the 1950’s and 60’s the programme continued to expand and recognise firstly alcoholism and later addiction in general as a primary condition, which is a disease with multiple phases, where treatment should take into account the physical, mental and spiritual aspects.


As the Minnesota Model became more established is began to incorporate many different professionals into the programme, working as together as teams to treat the various different facets of addiction. Today the Minnesota Model is one of the most successful treatment models for addiction and is the basis of our treatment programme at Marbella Recovery.


The Minnesota Model supports participation in AA meetings which follow the 12 steps. The 12 step programme originates from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The original 12-step model was developed by the founder of AA, Ben Wilson. Now there are many offshoots of AA including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Sex Addicts Anonymous (SA) to name a few.


The 12 Steps

The fundamental concept behind the 12 step programme is that people can provide support and help each other to abstain from their addictions to substances or behaviours. Meetings are held where members can share their experiences and provide mutual support in the process of recovery. Studies have shown that this group support process encourages positive mental health and aids recovery along with complete abstinence from substances or behaviours compared to people who did not abstain completely or follow this model.


The step by step model which the 12 step programme provides gives addicts a useful framework to follow encouraging the change of old behavioural patterns and development of new emotional practices and management tools. The original 12 steps found in AA’s Big Book are:

  1. Admitting powerlessness over the addiction
  2. Believing that a higher power (in whatever form) can help
  3. Deciding to turn control over to the higher power
  4. Taking a personal inventory
  5. Admitting to the higher power, oneself, and another person the wrongs done
  6. Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character
  7. Asking the higher power to remove those shortcomings
  8. Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs
  9. Contacting those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person
  10. Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong
  11. Seeking enlightenment and connection with the higher power via prayer and meditation
  12. Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need

The emotional tools which the 12 step model tries to provide include:

  • Recognition and acceptance that you have a problem with an addiction.
  • Surrender that your addiction exists and that you need to seek help externally.
  • Self-observation and auto awareness of behaviour patterns caused by the addiction, in addition to new behaviours to help encourage self-restraint and control.
  • Practice of self control and at the same time build self-esteem by fostering positive capabilities.
  • Accepting one’s self and your ability to change your behaviours.
  • Compassion, for others who have been affected by addiction and those who also struggle with addiction
  • Management tools that make the process of recovery a continual and ongoing practice throughout one’s life.

It is clear that the combination of the Minnesota Model supported by the 12 step programme is beneficial and effective in the recovery from an addiction. At Marbella Recovery this forms the backbone of our programme. Contact us if you would like more information.