Let’s start with some history.

The 12-step method was established in the 1930s by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith. The development of this program marked a significant shift in how society perceived and approached alcoholism and addiction.

In 1935, Bill W., a stockbroker, and Dr. Bob, a physician, founded Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio. Both men had struggled with alcoholism and found that sharing their experiences and supporting each other in recovery was instrumental in maintaining sobriety.

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The 12-step method is known for its emphasis on spiritual principles, personal responsibility, and mutual support. It has been adapted for various fellowships such as NA, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon and other recovery groups.

Many addiction recovery programs have adopted it as a base for their approach. While not everyone may resonate with the spiritual aspects, the 12-step method has provided a structured framework that has been beneficial for many individuals seeking sobriety.

The Initial Steps of AA

    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. 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 practice these principles in all our affairs.


A person revisits these steps at any time when needed. Slightly alternative versions exist for other addictions or compulsions. A member is encouraged to find a sponsor who will guide him through the steps and help the person stay on the road to recovery.

The Goal of the 12-Steps Program

Restoring one’s faith in themselves and seeing that life is worth living is one of its goals. Forgiveness from others and himself is possible, bringing peace, acceptance, and hope. Believing in oneself, being worthy of second chances, and being willing to be accountable make all the difference. All this brings a new outlook on life, love, relationships and employment.

When followed and abided by, the steps close the door to relapse. It gives an individual new armour and new battle gear to face life soberly. Peace, acceptance, joy, and hope are the foundation of the 12-step program.

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