Even those who have never had first- or second-hand experience with addiction are likely somewhat familiar with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is one of the most well-known programs for addiction recovery and for good reason: it’s also one of the most effective programs.
According to AA, up to 75% of its members stay abstinent from alcohol after completing their program. The AA Big Book mentions a 50% success rate, with an additional 25% of participants achieving lifelong sobriety after experiencing some relapses. Here at Any Length, we’re passionate about the 12 steps and firmly believe that they are one of the best options for anyone struggling with addiction.
What Are the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?
This blog post is intended to be your go-to resource for everything you might want to know about the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Clicking on any of the steps listed out below will bring you to another page, giving you all the details and information you’ll need about that step, allowing you to come away with a complete understanding of the process.
The 12 steps, as defined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous are as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of persons who we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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 of our affairs.
How Do the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous Help Addicts Recover?
12-step programs are so effective in part because they’re so accessible. It’s easy to find both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatments that use the 12 steps – the steps aren’t used exclusively by AA anymore, nor are they useful only for alcoholics.
12-step programs are incredibly helpful for recovering addicts in many different ways.
While not everybody believes in the same God (or even a God, for that matter), the spiritual aspect of the 12 steps is beneficial for anyone following the program. If you don’t believe in God in the Christian sense, you can substitute the word for the name of a deity you do believe in, or even simply “the universe”. Research has shown that faith in a higher power can positively impact both the brain and body by creating an optimistic mindset and fostering feelings like hope, inner-peace, and gratitude.
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous also encourage responsibility and an ongoing commitment, another component that contributes to their success rate. Anyone participating in a 12-step program needs to have a strong dedication to making a long-lasting change in their life in order for it to be successful. Throughout the program, participants are expected to keep themselves accountable for continuing to discover themselves, the root cause of their addiction, and how to develop coping skills that work for them personally.
Despite the heavy emphasis on personal responsibility, the 12 steps also place a strong importance on support. Trained professionals, mentors, and other group members are there to help along every step of the journey. Members have a safe place to share their wins, their struggles, and everything in between. They learn, hope, cry, grow, and celebrate together.
How Were the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous Created?
The 12 steps, originally known as the 12 traditions, have been around since the 1930s and were written by Bill W and Dr. Bob, the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Having both struggled with alcoholism themselves, the two founded the organization as an effective way to help alcoholics get sober.
The steps were based off the six tenets for a spiritual revolution, as defined by the Oxford Group, a Christian fellowship that predated Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill W wrote the steps as part of the Big Book, intending to “allow their program to reach men who couldn’t get to meetings or find a fellow alcoholic”.
Inspired by the Oxford principles, Bill W set out to write more than six steps for his program. He drafted the 12 we know today in one night.
Ready to Try the 12 Steps for Yourself?
Any Length Recovery is the highest rated addiction recovery program in Texas and we specialize in helping addicted men and their families find lifelong recovery through the application of the 12 steps. If you or your loved one are ready to try out the effectiveness of the 12 steps of AA for yourself, we want you to know that we are here to help. Give us a call at (512) 746-7036 today to start your journey to recovery.