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The Twelve Steps of Recovery

In addition to the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Steps have continued to be a tool for guidance for millions of people who have the desire to stop drinking. Over the years, the Twelve Steps have been adapted for groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Al-Alnon/Alateen, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Cocaine Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and many more.

Twelve Step meetings are groups where members share their personal stories of experience, strength and hope, and especially what they have learned about themselves by practicing these steps. The best way to learn is to listen to those who have been there and have worked through each of the steps. An important element or concept to accept, even if you don’t understand it is that the heart of the Twelve Step Program is suggested only.

Here are the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

  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.

If you are a newcomer to the Twelve Steps (typically anyone in their first 90 Days) you are not asked to accept of even follow these steps in their entirety. It’s not that they shouldn’t, but if you are resistant then just sit back, don’t drink and listen. You’ll often hear, “Keep an open mind,” “attend meetings,” and “read the literature that describes and interprets the program.”


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