What are the 12 steps of AA?
The 12 steps of AA are the spiritual foundation for recovery from the effects of alcoholism. These steps are not just a way to stop using drugs or drinking. They are the foundation of a new way of life. The twelve steps of AA have been adopted by other programs to treat addictive and dysfunctional behaviors.
The first 12 step program began in the 1930’s and has since grown to be the most widely used approach to deal with addiction and other dysfunctional behaviors. The first book written to cover the 12 steps of AA was entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous” also known as the Big Book by program members.
The 12 steps of AA are as follows:
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.
The 12 steps of AA have been adopted by other groups to address their own addictive or dysfunctional behaviors have similar ideas, usually with only minor variations. The 12 steps of AA are meant to be worked sequentially with a sponsor, which is a member whose purpose is to guide others through the steps.
The 12 steps of AA involve certain basic ideas including:
- Admitting that one can’t control one’s addiction or compulsion
- Recognizing that a higher power can give strength
- Examining past errors
- Making amends for past errors
- Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior
- Helping others who suffer from the same addictions and compulsions
The 12 steps of AA are suggested as a program of recovery for Alcoholics Anonymous, but the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees required to join Alcoholics Anonymous. Ultimately, the 12 steps of AA are more than just a way to stay sober. They’re a blueprint for a new, spiritual way of life, and they consist of universal spiritual principles.