Where did the Twelve Steps come from?
Until 1934 there was no known addiction treatment that worked. Later that year Bill W. and Dr. Bob started a group called Alcoholics Anonymous and eventually wrote the Twelve Steps to offer simple, straightforward principles, or basic truths, that people can follow to recover from addiction.
The Twelve Steps express the fundamental principles used by members of AA to transform their lives from moral decay and certain death to a spiritual fitness needed to keep the disease of addiction at bay.
Steps 1–3 (preparation steps)
The first three Steps prepare you for change. They help you focus on under- standing your disease and knowing and seeking the solution.
Steps 4–9 (transformation steps)
Once you know the problem and the solution, you need to take action. By following these six Steps, you will begin to see your life transformed.
Steps 10–12 (continued transformation steps)
Recovery is a lifelong journey. These three Steps focus on actions you can take to continue your growth and maintain the success you have achieved day by day for a lifetime.
What are the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?
As addicts, we didn’t know how to live sober. We’ve bounced through life going from one high to another, acting as if we were in control. The Twelve Steps, which follow, offer us a new way of life and give us a basic guide on how to approach lifelong recovery.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.