Alcoholics Anonymous – The 12 Step Program And What The Steps Mean

One of the toughest things for someone who has an alcohol problem to admit is that they have a problem.


WhiskyShotIf you’re someone who is suffering from alcohol addiction, then you may feel like you can get control over your problem anytime you’re ready. It just doesn’t work this way. Alcoholism is a disease and it’s one that can impact not just the person who is consumed by drinking, but those around them.


Alcoholics Anonymous is a program that offers 12 primary steps in order to help people on the road to recovery. It’s not a program someone will immediately get involved in. First they might attend discussion groups or just connect with other alcoholics before officially getting involved in the program.


The 12 steps aren’t anything to be intimidated by, but they do require a person to make a commitment. These 12 steps are designed to attack the core of the problem in a way that will ensure a person see things differently.

Below are the 12 steps along with a brief explanation as to how they can help recovering alcoholics.


What’s even better about them is that each can be modified and applied in different ways based on the step you feel is going to be the most essential to you. Superior clarity and understanding is what you want to focus on.


Yes, going through all the steps to make it to the end of the program (whether it was voluntary or court ordered) is a good thing.


However, truly understanding the power of these steps is what will enable you to gain the external strength and the internal strength you need to keep alcoholism under control now and moving forward.


• The First Step
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Look at this step for what it is and this would be mainly you admitting that you’re powerless over your problem. It has power over you which means it’s consuming you. Admitting this one thing takes back some of the power.


• The Second Step
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

The primary point of this step is to provide a sense of hope for those who at the moment might not have any. Hope will be the fuel that gets most recovering alcoholics through the rough times when they feel like they want to give in and give up.


• The Third Step
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

The primary purpose of this step is for recovering alcoholics to stop being their own worst enemy. In many cases being your own worst enemy leads to more problems than external influences do.


• The Fourth Step
“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

The main purpose of this step is to help you be brutally honest about who and what you’ve become due to your alcohol problems. Think of it as doing a life review, but more so focusing on what has happened as a result of your drinking problems. This leads to a superior understanding of what needs to be changed, can be changed and what you believe you can change.


• The Fifth Step
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

The primary purpose of this step is to not keep your feelings inside after you gone through the previous step. You have to open yourself up to others in a way you never have before, especially if you hope for them to do the same for you. This openness will lead to a greater sense of control.


• The Sixth Step
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character.”

The purpose of this step is for you to let go, let go of all the behaviors that contribute to your alcoholism problems. This step isn’t as easy as it sounds and in some cases people might have to take baby steps in order to fully let go of everything that’s holding them back from making positive change in their lives.


• The Seventh Step
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

The primary purpose of this step is for you to be humble. Asking a higher power to help you remove defects and character flaws takes humbleness. It takes humility. It also takes belief.


• The Eighth Step
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

The goal of this step is for you to take inventory of people you have hurt or feel you’ve hurt due to your alcoholism problems. You will want to write out a complete list of names.


• The Ninth Step
“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

This step is all about taking action on the previous step. What are you going to do in order to make things right? When are you going to do these things? You’ll want to focus on action steps you can take.

• The Tenth Step
“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

The primary word to keep in mind with this step is vigilance and diligence. Once you’ve made positive change you’ll need to keep on it in order to sustain it. The goal is to grow as a person so you’ll be strong enough to handle temptation in the future.


• The Eleventh Step
“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 main purpose of this step is for people to focus more on the spiritual side of things. Most people believe in a higher power and drawing on this higher power will help you to gain internal strength and spiritual strength.


• The Twelfth Step
“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 our affairs.”


The purpose of this step is for recovering alcoholics to be of help to others while at the same time continuing to help themselves on the road to recovery.


Getting over alcoholism isn’t easy and there are people who relapse. Some also need to attend a clinic such as this alcohol and drug rehab in Scotland. Alcoholism can start because someone likes the feeling of being drunk, but it’s usually about escape from pain or a reality that’s not what people would like it to be. These 12 steps are something recovering alcoholics would have to partake in long term and this commitment is something that doesn’t come easy.


This is why it’s a good idea to take your time, truly focus on the practicality of each step and figure out how you can use it whenever you need to for strength and guidance.


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