A lot of people are familiar with the term “Twelve Steps,” but they aren’t sure what the steps are or how they apply in their own recovery processes. It’s important to remember that the Twelve Steps, first developed by Bill W. of Alcoholics Anonymous, are a tool for you to use in your own recovery efforts. In this series, we will go deeper into each of the twelve steps for recovery, and what those steps mean for your own recovery journey.

Where Did the Twelve Steps Come From?

In the documents provided by Alcoholics Anonymous, the story goes something like this: Bill W. had a terrible drinking problem. He had a friend, Ebby T. who also had developed a problem with alcohol, but had since quit drinking. Ebby visited with Bill one day in 1934 and delivered a message to Bill that encouraged Bill to himself give up drinking. Bill passed this message on to Dr. Bob S., and soon saw that the process of one alcoholic speaking to another was a key to developing sobriety. In the years following, Dr. Bob and Bill formed the twelve steps, and they founded AA. Many treatment centers, including our own, since then have relied upon AA’s twelve-step format in the development of their own recovery programs.

What are the Twelve Steps?

The twelve steps are:

  1. “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable. (Powerlessness)
  2. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Hope)
  3. “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. (Surrender)
  4. “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (Inventory)
  5. “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (Confession)
  6. “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. (Readiness)
  7. “Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings (Asked God)
  8. “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. (Amends list)
  9. “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. (Make amends)
  10. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (Continue inventory)
  11. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. (Keep contact)
  12. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” (Help others)

While the original version of the Twelve Steps used “God” or “Higher Power” in its formulation, there are other versions that are more secularized. What’s important is that the individual going through the twelve steps program see each of these steps as individual and important parts of the road to recovery.

You Are Not Alone

Should you wish to seek out professionals who can help you overcome your addiction and start your recovery journey, we’re here for you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help guide you through the steps of recovery.

Follow our blog for the next 12 weeks as we discuss each step in depth.