The 12-Steps Approach
A bit of history
Alcoholics Anonymous or the 12-steps approach, introduced in the 1930s, had as its first mandate to come in aid to people who had problems with alcohol. But this method has been adapted to address a wide range of addiction or compulsive behaviours. Now you can find groups for gambling, sex addiction, smoking and a slew of others.
“Alcoholics Anonymous” was the first book written on the 12 step program and referred to by many as the “Big Book,” which explained its philosophy and methods.
Alcoholics Anonymous has changed over the years and has taken a less Christian overtone. But the 12-step is likely to remain a base for many people in aftercare or their overall recovery.
In this approach to sobriety, there are 12 different steps that a person must go through or follow on their road to recovery. Many alternative versions of the 12 steps exist that are very similar to each other. Below are the initial steps for Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Initial Steps of AA
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our 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 all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so 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 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 also from himself is possible brings 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.
The steps, when followed and abides by, close the door to relapse. It gives an individual a new armour and new battle gear to face life in a sober manner. Peace, acceptance, joy, and hope are the foundation of the 12 step program.