12 Steps – An Intro

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

Addiction isn’t a choice. No one person in recovery I have encountered, set out on their life path with the goal of becoming an addict. Not one. This is not a ground breaking statement when you consider how alcoholism as an illness was a new concept in 1939 with the publishing of Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism.  This book, known as the  Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, changed the discussion on alcoholism and launched the 12 step model to recovery into the limelight.

What are the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?

In the book, the writer Bill Wilson, outlines the philosophy and methods he and his physician friend, Bob Smith used in groups with other alcoholics that proved to achieve sobriety.   The Twelve steps are a commanding class of principles that lay out a course of action for addressing alcoholism as well as drug addiction and compulsion. While the steps have an explicitly Christian overtone that appeal to many who live by them, some groups adapt them to reflect more secular or agnostic views.

The 12 Steps are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We are entirely ready to have God (Higher Power) remove all these defects of character.
  7. We humbly asked Him (Higher Power) to remove our shortcomings.
  8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, we promptly admitted it.
  11. We 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 it out.
  12. Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Over the next 12 months I will be featuring ‘A Step A Month’ providing more definition into the workings of each step on the path to recovery.

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