Addiction ruins the lives of addicts and their families. Their confidence is destroyed and self-esteem shattered, and many times their lives are in real physical danger. Numerous treatment options exist. The most popular, the 12-step program, involves no real "professionals," doesn't cost a dime, and advocates changed behavior for a lifetime. Other options such as equine therapy, residential or outpatient treatment, as well as outdoor therapy can provide the help to restore health to addicts worldwide. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a small sliver of a much bigger picture. Twelve-Step Programs Unlike other treatment options, 12-step programs have no time limit. Programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (for any drug, not just narcotics) and Cocaine Anonymous are based on Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935. Twelve-step Programs are spiritual in nature, involving the working of 12 steps with a sponsor. The emphasis is on character-building, behavior modification, prayer and meditation. The program is followed for the rest of an addict's life and stresses the importance of daily maintenance and clean living. Many members of 12-step programs have great success with the program alone and do not need other treatment. However, every case is different, and some use a 12-step program in conjunction with other methods. Equine Therapy Horses are extremely responsive to a person's behavior. Originally used for people with disabilities, no one is quite sure who discovered the benefit of using horses in addiction-recovery therapy. Since horses mirror feelings, patients quickly learn what they are feeling and how their behavior affects others. Relationship-building skills are also a big part of equine therapy. If someone wants a horse to do what they want, bullying doesn't work, and this forces the patient to find another way to get their needs met. This is not a stand-alone therapy and is used in conjunction with more traditional options. Outdoor Therapy Outdoor therapy uses obstacles in wilderness to help addicts learn to trust and work with others, connect with nature and build self-confidence. A variety of challenges, include rock climbing and white-water rafting, help achieve this end. Many times this is used in conjunction with other therapies. Residential Treatment Many times addicts need to go away to a residential program to kick-start the recovery process. This provides a safe, structured environment to allow healing to begin away from the distractions and triggers of everyday living. Residential-treatment centers vary greatly. Most have counselors and medical staff available 24 hours a day. Each designs its own program, which may include a blend of traditional counseling, medication and alternative therapy, such as equine therapy. Almost all treatment centers have 12-step meetings in-house and/or take patients out to local meetings several times a week. Because each center is different, it is impossible to give specific details, though most have websites that explain their program and philosophy. Time frames can be anywhere from one week to 18 months. Outpatient Treatment As residential programs, outpatient treatment takes on many forms. Basically, outpatient treatment involves similar plans to inpatient treatment, except the patient comes for a designated amount of hours per week. Some programs are intensive, involving six to eight hours of "class" five times a week. These programs involve levels, in which the addict attends fewer hours as a new level is reached. Most of these programs usually last about a year. Costs Costs for these programs vary greatly and can be in the tens of thousands of dollars for residential programs. Many U.S. insurance programs will cover approved residential or outpatient treatment for a certain amount of time; alternative therapies may be covered if they are part of a residential program. Financial assistance is sometimes available through a county or state program in the United States as well. Don't let cost deter you from seeking the treatment that may save your life.