The 12 steps program is the oldest method used to help addicts recover from substance abuse.
Intention of the 12 steps
The founders of Alcoholic Anonymous designed the 12 steps in an effort to establish procedures for the optimum method to successfully get over addiction to alcohol. Over time, the success of this program became popular such that support groups for other kinds of addiction adapted it.
Various addictive behaviours that use the 12steps for recovery range from cocaine anonymous to debtors anonymous.
Spirituality is the main focus in the 12 steps process and is extremely helpful especially to people who are deeply religious. It allows for interpretation into different religious beliefs.
Alcoholic anonymous 12 steps
Recovery is a long-term process and each individual is at liberty to understand the 12 steps from their own perspective.
- We admitted we do not have any powers over alcohol – that we could no longer manage our lives
- Believed in a power greater than us that could help us regain our sanity
- Decided to commit our will and our lives to God the way we saw Him
- Took a deep honest reflection on our lives
- Confessed our shortcomings to God, ourselves and to others
- We were totally committed to allow God transform our lives
- Sought His forgiveness in a humble way
- Listed any person we had wronged and committed to make it up to them.
- Where possible, we deliberately made it up to them, other than if it would hurt them or others
- We were persistent in making reflections in our lives and if we failed we were quick to confess it
- Prayed and reflected to better our relationship with God as we knew Him, seeking understanding of His purpose for us and the grace to fulfil it.
- After having this spiritual experience from these steps, we endeavoured to share this message to alcoholics and to use this knowledge in our lives
The 12 principles
These principles address the Alcoholic Anonymous members collectively, as opposed to the 12 steps that address each individual.
- Priority is to the common purpose. Recovery for individuals is based on the group’s harmony
- A loving God is the ultimate power for our group’s intention and our leaders are His servants and should not rule.
- The desire to quit alcohol is the only requirement for AA membership
- Other than when dealing with concerns of other groups or the entire AA, each group should be independent
- Taking the message to a struggling alcoholic is the only intention of the group
- Endorsement, financing or lending the AA name to any center or independent business should never be undertaken by an AA group; otherwise it will lose sight of its purpose.
- Each AA group must be self-sustaining and should not accept help from outside.
- The service centers may engage experts but AA must be a nonprofessional body
- Service committees and service boards are formed to be responsible to those they serve but AA should never have hierarchies.
- The group has no say in matters in the outside world and therefore must never be part of public debate.
- We focus on attraction as opposed to promotion in our public relations policy. We aim to remain independent at media levels.
- All our traditions are founded on anonymity and therefore members should prioritize principles over personalities.
Is the model effective?
The program is anonymous in all aspects and it is hard to trace any record of effectiveness, but looking at how prominent they are and based on testimonies from recovering addicts, we can rate its success as good.
It for sure provides necessary support, encouragement and accountability for its members.