The Twelve Steps
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
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.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The twelve steps were first published in 1938 by their creators, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. Since then over 200 different fellowships, with millions of members worldwide, have used the twelve step treatment model to overcome a wide variety of addictive behaviors.
The twelve step treatment model is certainly not the only viable recovery model, but it has by far helped the most people find freedom from addiction. Our Recovery Dynamics curriculum helps patients dig into each step, apply it practically to their lives, and incorporate the truths behind these steps into their daily experience. Most recovering addicts and alcoholics who have worked the steps will tell you that they do not just deal with substance abuse, they signal a radical shift in your perspective and conduct. The twelve steps do not just address the addiction, they address the underlying factors that have contributed to it and that tend to reemerge with a vengeance as soon as the drug of choice is ripped away.
The foundation of the twelve step treatment model is surrender. Steps 1-3 deal with turning your self over to a higher power. Fundamental to this is an admission of powerlessness over your addiction (step 1) and a realization that since there is no hope left in your own efforts, hope must be found in a power greater than yourself (step 2). These realizations require a point of decision and surrender to that higher power (step 3). Although the twelve-step model is not tied to any particular religion or faith tradition, the vast majority of people who work the steps have a spiritual awakening at some point. For many, this happens during their third step prayer.
Surrender is a huge blow to pride, and this opens the way for honesty, confession, and self-disclosure. In steps 4 and 5, you inventory and confess the exact nature of your wrongs. As these things come into the light, you become ready for God to remove those character defects (step 6) and ask God to do so (step 7).
In step 8, you recognize the ways in which you have harmed many people in your life through drug and alcohol addiction, and in step 9, you make amends wherever possible. This process of personal inventory and repair never ceases (step 10).
Step 11 calls for a continued, vital spiritual life through prayer to God, however you may understand him/her, and step 12 calls for you to take the message of hope and healing through surrender and honesty to others who still labor under the bonds of addiction.