The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is the base upon which recovery rests. Recovery is a slow process of empowerment and is based upon the tenet that the sufferer wants support and is willing to look outside for help. Taking things one step at a time and separating these into recognizable and solvable issues is required.
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous stress the power of admission and recognition with peer group support as the key elements to successful alcohol recovery. Inter group sharing is encouraged. Extensive spiritual and individual counseling is part of the recovery process.
Spiritual development is encouraged and expected, the person has to be open to accepting help and support from a higher power that lay outside themselves. There is a strong call for the alcoholic to accept that they are powerless by themselves and that they require external help.
Typical meetings are group affairs based upon extensive sharing and group counseling.
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
The first of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, this states that the alcoholic needs to accept and understand that his/her condition and all of its issues is a direct result of his/her actions, driven by the addiction and not individual choice. The alcoholic has to reach a position of total acceptance of a need for help as a basic requirement for further progress toward recovery.
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
The next important step begins with an admission that there is a greater power that can guide our lives, rather than basic desires and feelings. This power has the capacity to help, support and enable us to overcome our personal shortcomings, and restore us to clean, pure and happy individuals that we were meant to be.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
This step starts with an admission and recognition that we can trust ourselves to this greater power that we may call God, and that He is capable of turning our lives around through His infinite generosity.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
This step again turns to the inward contemplation of the individual and his/her failings. We are required to look at our addiction, its manifestations and effects truthfully, honestly and without any spiritual or moral cover-ups. This step encourages the individual to recognize the damage and issues that their addiction is causing in their lives from all perspectives self, family, social and psychological
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
As an important aspect to reaching out for support, this step encourages sharing of our observations of our own failings with other individuals. Honesty and an unflinching desire to change are required of an individual seeking redemption from addiction. Until now, the individual has only acknowledged within his/her self that they are fallible and weak. This step encourages us to reach out and to make our problem real by the sharing with others.
6. We're entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Having acknowledged our failings to the external world, we are encouraged to affirm our desire for change, for improvement and for support through our participation. This step encourages a review of our commitment and our conviction that we are ready for the changes in our lives, actions, attitudes and character, whatever they may be.
7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
We are again required to affirm our belief in the higher power and to now use this power to enable us to set our persons and lives free from the damaging and destructive elements that were influencing us in the past. A basic attitude of humility and acceptance is essential at this point.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
We are again encouraged to review the list that we had made of people in our lives that we had wronged through our addictive self and behaviors. The individual is encouraged to recognize a need to repair the damage that they had inadvertently caused to their personal and family lives and in their social interactions.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Time to implement what we have acknowledged and recognized in the previous step as our direct impact on self, family and society. We are required to actually go out and make amends as required with all people whom we have identified as having being wronged by our addictive behavior in the past.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Recognizing that recovery is a long term and continuous process, we are encouraged to take periodical stock of our actions and behaviors. We must recognize that we can fail and that we may make mistakes - we should be willing and open to make any amends that may be required, even if it implies some form of personal disgrace at times.
11. We seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Prayer and meditation serve to remind us that we are basically seeking the support of the divine power that is greater than our individual self. And that this power has the capacity to give us infinite and continual support through any situation that we may find ourselves in.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to other addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Sharing and empowerment are the basic tenets of this final part of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. We reach out to others who are suffering as we once were. Through our interactions and our intervention, we see them grow and become free of their addiction. We see ourselves making new friends and we see us as contributing positively to others' lives and the world as a whole through our compassion and our understanding that they are suffering as we once were ourselves.