Welcome to recovery. For alcoholics willing and ready to quit drinking, they find themselves in the rooms of solution for recovery. This is where the work of the 12 Step Program is found. The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is the guide for recovering alcoholics to give them the tools to live life on life's terms.
The 12 Steps of AA
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable. Once an alcoholic can admit they have a problem, recovery can begin. It's also important to note that this is the only step that mentions alcohol. This is because the solution to recovery shows us that the problems faced by an alcoholic are so much more than alcohol. Once an alcoholic can define their powerlessness over alcohol, and see where their lives had become unmanageable, they become ready to grow into the next step and away from alcohol.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is not a religious program, it is a spiritual one. Step 2 is all about humbling the ego, and believing - not defining - a power greater than a single person that will help them in their daily sobriety.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Now that the recovering alcoholic believes in a power greater than themselves, this is where they "surrender" to their higher power, however they have defined that power.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Step 4 is a difficult and lengthy one, but also very rewarding. This is where the recovering alcoholic makes and inventory/journal of their resentments, the cause of those resentments, what they affected, and their role in it all.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Once the recovering alcoholic has completed their Step 4, they are ready to give that to God, as they understand God, admit it to themselves for acceptance, and to say it all out loud to another person. This person is usually their sponsor.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. When working with a sponsor, the recovering alcoholic can clearly see what their defects are after their 4th and 5th Steps. If they are not ready to have their defects removed, they are to pray for the willingness until that time comes.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. Once ready, the recovering alcoholic prays for their higher power to remove the defects found in the 4th and 5th Steps, after being ready to let them go.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. This list usually begins with many, if not all, of the names written in Step 4. Working with a sponsor, the recovering alcoholic can add onto this list at any time. Many people have amends they feel they can never make, so they are to pray for the willingness until ready to do so.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. This is the act of making the amends from the list in Step 8. Praying for the willingness for the ones that seem too difficult, and working with a sponsor for how to best approach certain amends. It is important that any amend that is made, is not done in an uncomfortable way that may harm that person's current life, or their family. Many examples of that are former relationships.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Once at Step 10, it's important to end the day with an inventory/journal of the events of that day. This is where the recovering alcoholic can lay out their day and see if they handled their actions properly, asking themselves questions like, "Was there anyone I offended or harmed today? Anyone I owe amends to? Did I walk in my new life today as best I could? Did I stay sober today?"
- 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. The recovering alcoholic must remain forever humble, so as not let the ego get out of control and begin to "run the show" again. Having a constant contact with their higher power through prayer and meditation is a daily reprieve from alcohol.
- 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.
This is where the recovering alcoholic works as a hand of AA and spreads the message to other suffering alcoholics. Just as the triangle of recover states: Service, Unity, Recovery. The recovering alcoholic strengthens themselves in service work, with other alcoholics, and with their own recovery in the above steps, and they find themselves mastering how to live life on life's terms.