What are the 12 Steps in Recovery?

The benefits of the 12 steps as part of addiction recovery are well known to people around the world. For nearly a century, 12 step programs designed based on the original model created so many years ago have helped struggling addicts achieve lasting recovery. Although AA or Alcoholics Anonymous is likely the first program to come to mind, there are many more 12 step-based programs that help with addictions of all kinds, including drug addiction, gambling addiction, and many others.


What is a 12 Step Program?

A 12 step program is an approach to ongoing addiction recovery-focused around 12 specific steps. Many 12 step programs are used as part of aftercare programs, but many addiction treatment centers incorporate 12 step peer support groups into their treatment programs. While the very first 12 step program, Alcoholics Anonymous, was aimed entirely at helping struggling alcoholics get and stay sober, the program has evolved significantly since then. Today, the original 12 steps are applied to several areas of addiction recovery. The basic idea behind the 12 steps is that a group of people who share a similar struggle can help and support each other to achieve and maintain abstinence or sobriety.


What are the 12 Steps in Recovery?

The original 12 were designed as a program to help alcoholics overcome their addictions, titled Alcoholics Anonymous or AA. These steps have been adapted to other groups now, such as NA. The 12 steps, as originally designed, are as follows:

  1. Admitting we were powerless over alcohol
  2. Came to believe that a higher 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
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  5. Admitted to God and to ourselves the 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 admit wrongs
  11. Sought through prayer or meditation the ability 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. As a result of these steps, experiencing a spirititual awakening and helping others overcome their addictions


Who Created the 12 Steps?

The 12 steps originated in Akron, Ohio, as part of the original “big book.” The first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group was founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1935. 1935 was a time when people viewed drinking and addiction as a moral failing (or worse). The concept of peer support groups was unheard of as society believed addiction struggles should be resolved in private.

Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith were two struggling alcoholics desperate to get sober. Both had been in and out of hospitals and were struggling to find a way to give up alcohol for good.

At the time, Bill believed there had to be a better way. He sat down to write about his thoughts on sobriety. He didn’t have a plan in mind nor a specific number of steps or ideas. After a brief time, the 12 steps were put down on paper and since have helped guide millions of addicts to recovery.


How to Find a 12 Step Program in Malibu, CA

At Rise in Malibu, we understand the importance of peer support in ongoing recovery. 12 step programs provide valuable guidance and companionship to newly recovered addicts during some of the most challenging days immediately after treatment. If you are curious about how 12 step support can help you begin your journey towards recovery from addiction, contact us at Rise in Malibu today.

The Importance of Relapse Prevention ProgramsWhat are the Best Ways to Cope With Stress? Call Now Button