How Can I Tweak the AA 12 Steps to Fit Me?

Every member of AA is different, and their journey through the 12 steps should reflect this. Below are some ways in which you can tweak these well-known steps to sobriety based on your needs.

Aren’t the 12 Steps Always Supposed to Be the Same?

Not necessarily. You can make changes to these stages just like other 12-step programs have done. As stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “NA (Narcotics Anonymous) programs change some wording in the first and last steps to make them appropriate to users of illicit drugs and other substances.”

It is important for every individual to be able to change the 12 steps to an extent based on their needs and the recovery process that is right for them.

How Should I Change the 12 Steps to Reflect My Needs?

Tweak the 12 Steps

Yoga is one way to feel closer to your higher power.

There are many ways in which you can make these alterations. While keeping the steps in their particular order and making sure you continue with the same general concepts associated with them, you can make changes that better allow you to follow the steps, feel more comfortable with their application, and start a journey that reflects not only your needs as an individual in recovery but you as a person.

If you are interested in learning more about how AA can benefit you, call 800-948-8417 Who Answers? today.


Many of the 12 steps contain particular wordings that are religious in nature. However, it is also clear that members are meant to work with these in their own way. For example, step three states, “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” This reflects the fact that one does not necessarily need to be religious to follow these teachings and give their lives over to a higher power.

For you, this power may be God, the universe, humanity as a whole, nature, music, your family, or something else that you place higher than yourself and your own needs. You can find a new way to define the higher power so it expresses you.

Practicing Meditation, Prayer, Etc.

It is important to practice one of these activities in the way that is most comfortable for you. Do you wish to listen to music as you meditate? Do you want to do yoga? Do you want to go to a class or be alone? Do you pray with others as part of a religious service or alone? You may also find another activity instead that makes you feel close to your higher power and opens you to the will you wish to follow.

Consider the possibilities available to you, and find the one that works for your needs.

Your 12 Steps

Many individuals feel the 12 steps need to be followed exactly as is, but every member has their own interpretation of what they mean and how they can be helpful to their needs. Therefore, interpretation and slight change is usually necessary for each member to create their own recovery with AA.

Call 800-948-8417 Who Answers? to find treatment or to learn more about how the program can help you. We can also give you advice on how to practice the 12 steps your way.

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