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Step by Twelve Steps – An Introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous

Step by Twelve Steps – An Introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous

Most of us have a pretty good idea of what an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is like—at least in broad outline.

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People gather together in someplace like a church basement, share something from their lives and recovery journey (if they are so inclined), and enjoy some coffee and cookies. That much has been depicted in countless books, movies, and television shows. 

You might also be aware that AA is built around the Twelve Steps—but you might not know any of the specifics. And if you were to ask most people who are not in the program, they, too, would likely have a hard time telling you what those 12 steps might actually be.

Let’s take a look at the Twelve Steps so that you will have a better sense of the program and whether it is the right recovery community for you.

The Twelve Steps

Alcoholics Anonymous is built on a set of principles—the Twelve Steps—that outline a process for getting and staying sober:

  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.

Some Key Takeaways

One of the first things you might have noticed about the Twelve Steps is that God is arguably at the forefront of the program. For some people, that may be in keeping with their own faith traditions and therefore feel comfortable and familiar. For others, the notion of God might not sit comfortably in their worldview. When that is the case, a person in recovery has a couple of options: stick with AA without leaning too hard into the religious themes or find another program that might be a better fit.

Another idea that might have jumped out is that of taking responsibility for any harm you have caused to others. People struggling with alcohol or other substances often find themselves hurting others emotionally, financially, or even physically. The Twelve Steps—particularly steps eight, nine, and ten—encourage those in the program to make things right whenever they can and to always take responsibility going forward. You can learn more about making amends and the ways in which it supports ongoing sobriety here.

A third takeaway might be the power of “we.” Throughout the Twelve Steps, the word “we” appears frequently, reminding us that Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of individuals supporting one another. Staying sober on your own can be extremely difficult. Having a community—a “we”—to rely on when you are struggling can be a very powerful thing. So can providing support to someone else who is struggling. The Twelve Steps highlight shared experience and the ways in which it can provide a firmer foundation for your recovery.

Your First Step Should Be Toward Treatment

When you are struggling with alcohol or drugs, it can feel as though you are trapped in a snare with no way to escape. But there is a path back to sobriety. You just have to take the first step by contacting a treatment facility like Bel Aire Recovery Center.

Our Kansas facility offers medically supervised detoxification that will help you weather the storm of withdrawal symptoms that can make it so hard to stop using drugs or alcohol. Our rehabilitation program includes group therapy which offers the same sort of shared experience benefits we noted above. And our continuum of care ensures you can start your recovery journey with confidence.

Take that all important first step. We are ready to walk alongside you as you regain—and maintain—your sobriety.

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