12 Steps are a Group of Principles for Recovery

A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.

Alcoholics Anonymous book ‘12 Steps and 12 Traditions’, p. 15

  • Honesty; After many years of denial, recovery can begin when with one simple admission of being powerless over alcohol – for alcoholics and their friends and family. Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Faith; It seems to be a spiritual truth, that before a higher power can begin to operate, you must first believe that it can. Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Surrender; A lifetime of self-will run riot can come to a screeching halt, and change forever, by making a simple decision to turn it all over to a higher power. Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  • Soul Searching; There is a saying in the 12-step programs that recovery is a process, not an event. The same can be said for this step — more will surely be revealed. Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Integrity; Probably the most difficult of all the steps to face, Step 5 is also the one that provides the greatest opportunity for growth. Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • Acceptance; The key to Step 6 is acceptance — accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go. Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • Humility; The spiritual focus of Step 7 is humility, asking a higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-will or mere determination. Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
  • Willingness; Making a list of those previously harmed  may sound simple. Becoming willing to actually make those amends is the difficult part. Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Forgiveness; Making amends may seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but for those serious about recovery it can be great medicine for the spirit and soul. Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  • Maintenance; Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery. Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  • Making Contact; The purpose of Step 11 is to discover the plan God as you understand Him has for your life. Step 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.
  • Service; For those in recovery programs, practicing Step 12 is simply “how it works.” Step 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.


Related Reading:

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism/Third Edition
Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives
The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions Workbook of Co-Dependents Anonymous