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The Minnesota Model (12 steps)

The Minnesota Model is a treatment which has been specifically developed to address the problem of addiction. This method appeared in the United States in the 1950s and is now used all over the world, and is considered as one of the most effective models for the treatment of addictions.

The Minnesota model is based on cognitive-behavioral techniques and incorporates the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12 Steps. Its main features are as follows:

Alcoholism is defined as an incurable disease which is:

     - fatal: it is fatal for the person if it is not treated and for those around him or her in the broadest sense (car                 accidents, violence, etc.).
    - chronic: it remains latent, inprinted both physically and psychologically. It must be treated taking into                            account its chronicity. Addicts remain vulnerable to psychotropic substances and a resumption                      of the use of psychotropic products will lead to a relapse;
     - Progressive: it gets worse if left untreated;
     - primary: addiction should be treated as a disease and not as a symptom of another disease.

The disease of addiction can only be stopped by total abstinence from all psychoactive substances. 

Since there is a genetic predisposition to develop alcoholism, the alcoholic is not responsible for having this disease; nevertheless he is responsible for his own recovery and must do everything possible to recover and achieve abstinence. 

Through therapy, the addict will understand that it is very difficult to cope on his own, and that help is needed. He will become aware that "in my own way, when I want and what I want" does not work!


He will learn humility and letting go, both necessary to a good recovery. The belief in a "higher power" (which can refer to God but also to anything else, the choice remaining individual) will facilitate that process.

Finally, alcoholism is seen as a disease that affects all members of the addict's family, spouses, children, etc., as well as those close to him. Codependents, who are often not taken into account, also need help because they suffer greatly from the addict's drinking. Frequent complaints are loneliness, depression, frustration, guilt, shame, fatigue, or even suicidal urges. It is therefore important for them to know that, for them too, there is help and support available.


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