The Adapted 12 Steps

The AA 12 Step Program designed by Alcoholics Anonymous is a recovery process for individuals committed to overcoming addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program was initially published in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism. The AA 12 Step Program has evolved into a foundation for many other non Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step programs, such as Cocaine Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and Debtors Anonymous.

The Essence Of The AA 12 Step Program

The AA 12 Step Program has become an extremely well-recognized recovery program in today’s society. Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program has been adopted to facilitate recovery in a wide array of dependency and substance abuse cases. As summarized by the American Psychological Association, the AA 12 Step Program involves the following:

  • Admitting that one has lost control of one’s addiction or compulsive behavior
  • Recognizing a higher power that can provide strength
  • Examining past errors with the help of a AA 12 Step Program sponsor
  • Realizing and making amends for these errors
  • Learning to live by a new code of behavior with the help of the AA 12 Step Program
  • Committing to helping others that suffer from the same addictions or compulsions

The Adapted 12 Steps

As initially published by Alcoholics Anonymous, below are the original steps of the AA 12 Step Program:

  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 individuals we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such individuals 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 12 steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

In some areas, where other non Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step programs have adapted the AA 12 Step Program as a guide, the steps may have been changed to focus on certain principles significant to those particular practices or groups, as well as to remove any gender-biases or specific religious context.

12 Step Program Process

Alcoholics Anonymous

Each step of AA is essential to your recovery.

In the AA 12 Step Program, the structure of the human is symbolically portrayed in three dimensions: physical, mental, and spiritual. The issues that each individual deals with while involved in the AA 12 Step Program manifest themselves through each dimension. In the case of addicts and alcoholics, the physical dimension is best described by the compulsive bodily reaction prompting continuous substance abuse after the initial use. For non Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program groups, or practices not related to substance abuse, the physical dimension could be more attributable to other behaviors including, but not limited to: eating disorders, distractibility, hyperactivity, hypomania, insomnia, compulsive hoarding, irritability, lack of motivation, manic behavior, panic attacks, poor impulse control, procrastination, self-injury and/or suicidal behaviors. The first statement in the AA 12 Step Program, expressing that the individual is “powerless” over the related behavior, refers to the lack of control over this compulsion, which remains continuous regardless of any negative consequences that may be result.

The “mental” dimension portrayed in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program is described as the cognitive processes which provoke the compulsive behavior. This mental dimension further reflects on the problematic behavior as potentially repeatable after some period of abstinence, realizing that the overall result will be an inability to discontinue the behavior. The description stated in the first step of the AA 12 Step Program that the life of the individual is “unmanageable” reflects the lack of choice or determination within the mind of the addict or alcoholic concerning whether to use the substance again.

The manifestation of the spiritual dimension is factored into all non Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program groups as well as AA 12 Step Programs. The illness of the spirit reflects the issue of self-centeredness. The purpose of this AA 12 Step Program model is not intended to define a scientific explanation. It is rather a perspective that Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program organizations as well as non AA 12 step program groups have found useful. The process of the AA 12 Step Program is intended to replace self-centeredness with a developing moral awareness and a willingness for unselfish, progressive action and behavior. In Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Programs as well as non AA 12 Step Program groups, this is known as a “spiritual awakening”. In related 12 step program practices, “spiritual awakening” is known to emerge slowly over a period of time.

While undergoing the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program, it is common for members to attend AA 12 step program meetings with other individuals. During these AA 12 step program meetings, members share their particular recovery problems. With respect to the first step as described in the AA 12 Step Program, particular emphasis is placed on self-admission by members recovering from alcoholism. Through this stage, members often identify themselves with an admission of their specific behavioral problem.

History Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program, the initial 12 step program practice, was designed in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The AA 12 Step Program founders are known to AA members as “Bill W.” and “Dr. Bob”, in Akron, Ohio. They established the “anonymous” tradition within the AA 12 Step Program using only their first names within the media.

As Alcoholics Anonymous began to emerge in the 1930s and 40s, more grounded principles began to develop into the Twelve Traditions. A conflict of purpose spawned in the fifth tradition’s statement: “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” As a result of such specific context, individuals involved in the AA 12 Step Program who were addicted to drugs but did not suffer from alcoholism were not officially welcome in “closed” Alcoholics Anonymous meetings unless they had a desire to stop consuming alcohol.

For this reason, the principles of AA 12 Step Program have been used to establish a number of other practices for individuals recovering from various substance abuse problems. Each of which focuses on recovery from the issues which directed the individual into the specific practice. As a result, in 1953, Alcoholics Anonymous gave permission for Narcotics Anonymous to adopt the AA 12 Step Program and its Traditions.

More About 12 Step Programs

Alcoholics Anonymous is a remarkable organization with an international scope. Generally, anyone can locate an AA 12 Step Program in almost any city in the United States as well as in many foreign countries. In fact, it is possible to talk via the Internet to anyone in the world regarding Alcoholics Anonymous. Worldwide recovering alcoholics are able to communicate, sponsor, and share the highlights of their day with each other from areas all over the globe.

The primary purpose of AA and the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program is to carry its message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Together, we can do what none of us could accomplish alone. We can serve as a source of personal experience and be an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics. Discover an AA 12 Step Program today, and start on the successful and supportive road to recovery.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.