The Twelve Steps

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The Twelve Steps

File:Twelve Steps Logo.jpg
The Twelve Steps Logo


The Twelve Steps are the foundation of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. They offer a set of guidelines for personal recovery from alcoholism and have been adapted for use in treating other forms of addiction and compulsive behaviors.

The Twelve Steps

  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.


The Twelve Steps were originally published in the 1939 book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism. The book was written by AA co-founder Bill W., and has since become commonly known as the "Big Book".

Interpretations and Adaptations

Various interpretations and adaptations of the Twelve Steps exist for different addictions and compulsive behaviors. For example, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon/Alateen have adapted the steps to fit their specific needs.

Criticism and Controversies

Discussion about the criticisms and controversies regarding the Twelve Steps, including the role of spirituality and the debate over its effectiveness.

Further Reading

  • The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions - a book that expands on the Twelve Steps and their application.
  • Daily Reflections - a set of daily readings based on the Twelve Steps.

See Also

External Links