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The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

We went to our first A.A. meeting. We sat and listened. We tried to understand what the speakers were saying, especially the part about "Working the Steps." We spoke to other A.A. members, who told us what the steps were about. We learned the Twelve Steps are guides to progress in our lives, and that by "Working the Steps" we could stay sober one day at a time and help other sick and suffering alcoholics to Take Their Lives Back.

We realized that the Twelve Steps are the basis of recovery in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. By practicing the Twelve Steps, getting a sponsor, going to meetings, joining a group, and doing service work, we knew our chances of becoming and remaining sober were very good.

Here are the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with an (our) interpretation of each.
(Reprinted from pages 59-60 of the text Alcoholics Anonymous with permission of A.A. World Services)
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
(Drinking became the single most important thing in our lives. We finally admitted we could not stop drinking on our own.)

Step 2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
(We had faith that a "Higher Power" could help us.)

Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
(We put faith in a Higher Power that He would hear us and help us stay away from a drink "just for today.")

Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
(We analyzed our character defects and flaws. Did we cheat? Did we lie? Did we steal?)

Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
(We acknowledged the wrongs we had done and shared them honestly with ourselves, our sponsor, and our Higher Power.)

Step 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
(We were willing to have these defects removed by our Higher Power.)

Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
(We asked our Higher Power for help in removing our character defects.)

Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
(Whom did we harm and how can we "right the wrong"?)

Step 9. Made direct amends to such people, except when to do so would injure them or others.
(We fixed those things that we could, as difficult as it was.)

Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
(We constantly analyzed our behavior and when we were wrong, we apologized.)

Step 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.
(We spent some quiet, reflective time to improve our relationship with our Higher Power.)

Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.
(We carried the message to help other sick and suffering alcoholics.)

"Working the Steps"
of Alcoholics Anonymous
helped us take our Lives back.

Take Your Life Back!

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The information at is not intended to replace sound medical advice from qualified professionals. strongly urges you to consult with your doctor regarding any medical concerns or questions.