The 12 step alcohol and addiction recovery programmes often refer to “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein. While the word may seem extreme, its meaning in this context is different from its everyday use. In rehabs and addiction treatment, “insane” refers to a state of mind when someone is actively using drugs or alcohol.

The term “insane” is not intended to stigmatize or label individuals struggling with addiction. It serves as a way to describe the irrational thinking, self-destructive behaviour and loss of control experienced while under the influence. When you hear someone mention that they were “”insane”” during their addiction, they are referring to the chaotic and unmanageable nature of their lives under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

By acknowledging this state of “insanity,” the addiction recovery community aims to emphasise the need for a dramatic shift in thinking and behaviour in order to overcome addiction. Recognising the destructive patterns and thoughts that arise while using substances is an essential step towards recovery.

It’s important to note that “insane” is not a clinical or medical term. Instead, it is a colloquial expression used within the recovery community to describe the mindset of active addiction. While this term may seem harsh, it highlights the urgency and gravity of seeking help for addiction.

Throughout history, addiction treatment and recovery language has evolved and adapted to best serve those in need. The concept of “”insane”” emerged within 12-step fellowships, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which have helped millions of people worldwide. These fellowships provide a supportive environment for individuals struggling with addiction to connect, share their experiences and find strength in their process towards recovery.

The Twelve Steps To Insanity

The “Twelve Steps to Insanity” is a humorous yet pointed spoof on the traditional twelve-step program, author unknown. It cleverly twists the path to recovery into a journey of self-imposed control and denial, highlighting the often misguided belief in one’s omnipotence over life’s challenges and the lives of others.

  1. Acknowledged our complete dominance over everything, convinced we could handle our lives flawlessly and take charge of others willing to let us. (Many of us with alcohol issues possess a strong, controlling nature, believing we can fix our lives solo and manage others as well).
  2. Came to see ourselves as the supreme authority, viewing the rest of the world as deranged. (We often deflect blame, insisting we’re right and making others feel at fault).
  3. Chose to demand our friends and family submit their will and lives to our guidance. (Rejecting assistance, we see ourselves as utterly essential to others).
  4. Conducted a superficial and bold critique of everyone we knew. (Rather than self-reflect, we focus on finding fault in others).
  5. Proclaimed loudly the faults of everyone else to the world. (Continuing the theme of externalizing blame).
  6. Stood ready to correct others’ behaviour, avoiding self-scrutiny. (Our focus remains outward, avoiding our own flaws).
  7. Insisted others conform to our expectations or leave. (We expect change from others, not ourselves).
  8. Compiled a list of grievances, preparing to settle scores with everyone who wronged us. (Harboring resentments, we let these fuel our anger and justify our drinking, numbing our inner turmoil).
  9. Sought retribution against those we felt harmed by, risking our wellbeing only when necessary. (We relish in evening the score with perceived adversaries).
  10. Persistently monitored others, pointing out their mistakes vigorously. (Adopting a know-it-all stance).
  11. Used persistent criticism to attempt improving relationships, failing to understand others, demanding they conform to our ways. (Our controlling nature shines here).
  12. After a total breakdown physically, emotionally and spiritually from following these steps, we attempted to cast blame elsewhere, seeking sympathy for our plight. (Eventually, this path leads to a breakdown, forcing us to confront our lowest point. This is where the real work begins: acknowledging our alcoholism, recognising our helplessness, accepting responsibility and embarking on a genuine process towards sobriety through the authentic twelve-step program).

Insane in Addiction Treatment Terms : Addiction Guide for Insane

Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome. Many people with addictions understand this concept more than most. Get help from qualified counsellors.

  • Covered by Medical Aid or Private Health Insurance
  • Outpatient, Detox, Primary, Secondary, Sober Home
  • Effective Addiction & Mental Health Treatment


    View More

    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

    Scroll to top
    Call Us Now