The Minnesota model of 12 step Treatment

The model is so called because it originated in Pioneer House, in Minnesota over 60 years ago. There is nothing unique and original about the Minnesota Model of 12 step treatment. It comes from a combination of other treatments including those used in Therapeutic Communities.

The Minnesota Model subscribes to caring for the alcoholic or addict, and that there is no ‘cure’ just an ability to stop the illness being active, ‘one day at a time’. In other words, the alcoholic’s and addict’s problems are long term, they don’t just don’t go away. We get better by helping each other (a lot of good work / treatment goes on when the counsellors have gone home).

A key factor of the Minnesota Model is that it offers a holistic approach – treatment for the body, mind and spirit. For instance, the model also advocates bringing together expertise from many disciplines including drs, psychiatrists, counsellors, recovering alcoholic ‘lay’ people, masseurs etc etc. It supports a multidisciplinary approach, acknowledging that the alcoholics and addicts need to get back on track with their families, finances, and employers etc

Assumptions behind the Minnesota Model

• Alcoholism exists
• It is an illness – like an involuntary disability. Thos with the illness have no control over their drinking and physical dependence. As a man with no legs cannot run a marathon, an alcoholic cannot stop drinking on their own.
• It is a no fault illness – see above
• It is an illness which affects those suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually (it is a spiritual malady as many alcoholics believe they can stop on their own and refuse to accept help. They suffer in their mental health and self esteem and have to accept they need outside help and a shift in their mental perceptions)

• It is a chronic primary illness – the alcoholism needs to be treated first. Similarly, the model suggests that alcoholics should not look for reasons for their alcoholism by harking back to past. They should focus on the here and now.
• The motivation for treatment is unrelated to outcome – all alcoholics are in denial to some extent and anyone can get well
• Education begins in the community – families etc. need to understand and be involved

The Minnesota Model can be summed up as:

Treating alcoholics (medically)
Always treat them with dignity and respect as individuals
As a whole, treat the person – body, mind and spirit

It incorporates:

Total abstinence  and complete surrender – and an admission that alcoholics cannot manage life if they use alcohol in any form
The Twelve Step Programme of AA. For instance, this enables them to change the mind set that precipitates drinking. Above all, especially dealing with their resentments, self pity, fear and remorse (steps 4 and 5 are vital). It promotes group therapy to learn about the Steps, lectures and reading
Helping each other
Unlearning their destructive life style
A treatment plan centred round the individual and including after care – e.g. half way house, AA etc

Overall, it is about rehabilitation of the alcoholic (and addict) and a return to being a fulfilled and useful member of society.

Call the Haynes Clinic on 01462 851414 for confidential advice with your addiction. We can help people who suffer from addiction to alcohol, drugs, food and gambling. You can book a free assessment with us and come and look around our clinic with no obligations. You can alternatively just call us, if rehab is not an option and we can guide you to the services that are available to you in your area.