12 Steps of Recovery : Is This Right for Me?

You don’t have to be in recovery to know what a twelve-step program is. Created by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, “The 12 Steps” were an outline for alcoholics to follow, to help them on their path to recovery. Today, the 12-Step model has been adapted by recovery and rehabilitation specialists and serves as a guide not only for alcohol addiction but for drug and substance-abuse addiction recovery programs throughout the country.

History Of The 12 Steps of Recovery

There are certain types of addiction treatment programs and support groups that treat addiction. The most well-known support group for addiction treatment is that of the 12 steps of recovery. 

As mentioned earlier, the 12 steps of recovery were created by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. For some context, Bill W. was a man that always struggled with alcohol use. Bill W. also struggled with the organized Christian religion and the idea of God. That was until Bill’s friend had a religious epiphany. 

Shortly after this, Bill began to wonder what he would have to do to experience the same thing. Unfortunately, Bill spent days and nights questioning God and himself and the way God operates. That is until his religious friend gave him some insight. The insight that Bill’s friend gave him was to get his conception of God. 

Once Bill received this advice, he had a spiritual epiphany of his own. Before he knew it, he was able to kick his drinking addiction. That’s when it hit him, maybe he should incorporate spirituality into the steps of how to overcome alcoholism. 

Bill W. Meets Dr. Bob

During the time that Bill was trying to continue to abstain from drinking, he happened to call Dr. Bob to stay with him and his wife for moral support to help keep him from drinking. Dr. Bob also struggled with a drinking problem. However, around the time that Dr. Bob started staying with Bill W. and communicating with him about the 12 steps of recovery, Dr. Bob had his last drink. 

The last day that Dr. Bob had a drink is seen as the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous, June 10, 1935. After that date, Bill and Dr. Bob began writing the Big Book together for alcoholics for the Oxford Group. Several years later, everything that Bill and Dr. Bob wrote about the 12 steps of recovery became the book, Alcoholics Anonymous.   

Purpose Of The 12 Steps of Recovery

The original purpose behind the 12 steps of recovery was to help out men that suffered from alcoholism but couldn’t go to meetings and had few fellow alcoholics to connect with. This purpose continues to hold today. The purpose of the 12 steps of recovery has expanded today. Today, the purpose of the 12 steps of recovery would be to help all alcoholics and drug addicts gain the ability to stop using substances and remain sober. Another major purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous today is to build one’s support network. 

What Are the 12 Steps of Recovery In Alcoholics Anonymous?

The 12 steps of recovery are used to treat alcoholism along with other types of drug addictions today. Although, The main form of 12 steps of recovery is those for Alcoholics Anonymous. This is because the creators of the 12 steps, Bill W. and Dr. Bob originally suffered from alcoholism. The rehabilitation steps in AA’s 12-step program are:


We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable

AA believes that people can’t overcome alcoholism (or other addictions) on their own. Willpower and personal strength will not prevent them from drinking.

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

For some people, the higher power may be God, and for others, it might be a belief in the universe itself.

Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him

God can come in many forms. The purpose of this step is to further admit that alcoholics can’t recover on their own.

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Making a list of poor choices and character flaws, individuals can see the hurt they caused to others. Likewise, they realize that feelings like fear and guilt have motivated their past actions.

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

Members working this step will usually sit with their sponsor and confess everything they described in Step 4. This requires the person to set aside their ego and pride to admit to past shameful behavior. This also frees the alcoholic from hiding behind guilt and lies.

We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character 

In this step, the individual accepts that they are ready to have a higher power (whatever that may be) remove the moral weaknesses identified in Step 4.

12 Steps of Recovery – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings

In this step, the person needs to focus on the positive features of their character, such as:

  • Humility
  • Kindness
  • Compassion and the desire for change, along with stepping away from the negative aspects.

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all

At this time, recovering addicts make a list of all the people they have hurt. This often includes people they hurt during their active addiction, but it may go back further.

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

When coupled with Step 8, this gives recovering addicts the chance to make things right with people they have hurt. 

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it

Associated with Step 4, this involves a commitment to keep watching for any character defects. Also, it involves a promise to admit it when you’re wrong.

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

This step commits the recovering addict to continue their spiritual progress. This might mean reading the scripture every morning for some people. But for others, it may mean a daily meditation practice. Simply, it involves an obligation to spend time reevaluating your spiritual and mental state.

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 final step involves helping other people and serves as a motivation to also become a sponsor. Individuals have a major internal shift by going through the 12 steps and part of that is the wish to help others.

The 12 Steps of Recovery At Little Creek Lodge

At Little Creek Lodge, our programs are based on this 12-Step model. We treat addiction on the physical, spiritual, and mental levels, offering a comprehensive treatment program for substance abuse. Through our recreational and creative programs, combined with customized clinical care, we can give residents the time and space they need to rediscover themselves and empower themselves to make good choices for a healthy, sober lifestyle.

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