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The History of the 12 Steps in the Addiction Recovery Process

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Pennsylvania

what are the 12 steps in a 12 step program 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.

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

History of the 12-Steps Program

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 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 own 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 Bill started staying with Dr. Bob 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

The original purpose behind the 12 steps of recovery was to help men out that suffered from alcoholism but couldn’t go to meetings and had few fellow alcoholics to connect with. This purpose continues to hold true today. In fact, 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 in a 12 Step Program for Alcoholics Anonymous? steps of recovery

The 12 steps of recovery are used to treat alcoholism along with other types of drug addictions today. The main form of 12 steps of recovery are those for Alcoholics Anonymous though. This is because the creators of the 12 steps, Bill and Dr. Bob, originally suffered from alcoholism. 

When asked what are the 12 steps in a 12 step program for Alcoholics Anonymous the answer is: 

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—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 alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

12 Traditions

In 1953, the official book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions was published. This was the same year that the first Narcotics Anonymous group was formed. The purpose of establishing 12 traditions on top of the traditional 12 steps for alcoholics was to be more inclusive and use the 12 steps of recovery to treat other substance addictions outside of alcoholism. Still, though, the 12 traditions were based around treating alcoholism, hence the wording of the twelve traditions.

The 12 traditions of addiction include:

  1. The common welfare comes first.
  2. There is one ultimate authority, which is the loving God.
  3. The desire to stop drinking is the only membership requirement.
  4. Each AA group is autonomous, except in matters affecting all groups.
  5. Each group’s primary purpose is to carry the message to those struggling with alcohol.
  6. AA does not give money, endorsement, or prestige to organizations outside of the group’s mission.
  7. Each group must self-support and decline outside contributions.
  8. The core of the group meetings is nonprofessional, peer support.
  9. There is no central organizing body.
  10. AA remains apolitical, with no opinion on outside issues.
  11. Personal anonymity of members is deeply important. 
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of the traditions, placing principles above the person.

Purpose of the 12 Steps 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous

At Little Creek Lodge, our programs are based on this 12-Step model. We treat addiction on the physical, spiritual, and mental level, offering a comprehensive treatment program for substance abuse. 

Through our recreational and creative programs, combined with customized clinical care, we are able to give residents the time and space that they need to rediscover themselves and empower themselves to make good choices for a healthy, sober lifestyle.

Surrender Is About Empowering Yourself

Little Creek Lodge is an addiction treatment center that provides inpatient addiction treatment for men only. This is because we understand that men misuse substances at higher rates. 

We here at Little Creek Lodge also understand that men tend to struggle more with opening up and revealing their emotions. That’s why we specialize in music therapy to provide our male residents with an avenue to express themselves and more easily connect with their emotions. 

Something else that we here at Little Creek know that men struggle with more often is asking for help. That’s why our primary objective is to get our male residents to accept their diagnosis while managing their daily recovery. That way they understand that they can ask for help when they need it. By teaching our male residents how to engage with others through asking for help, it’s helping to further develop their emotional coping skills. 

Go Through the 12 Steps of Recovery Here At Little Creek Recovery

Here at Little Creek Recovery, we value the 12 steps of recovery. That’s why we focus on a 12 step philosophy in conjunction with reality-based therapies. We also design our programs to engage with our residents’ ongoing barriers, whether they be spiritual, mental, social, or a combination of them all. 

Our practice here at Little Creek Lodge is to provide guidance, individual and group therapies, recreational outings, and daily 12 step meetings. This allows our residents to engage in mental, physical, and spiritual experiences that are essential to long-term recovery. 

Ultimately, our mission and purpose is to commit to building a strong foundation and integrating internalized recovery through therapeutic and 12 step models, with a focus on the spiritual paradigm. To do this, we must understand the history of the 12 steps of recovery. 

The road to recovery can be difficult. At Little Creek Lodge, we provide a safe and healthy environment for young men in need of inpatient drug and alcohol addiction recovery services. To learn more about our addiction treatment center, our addiction treatment programs and therapies, or our sober living services, contact us today. You can do so over the phone or by filling out our contact form. You can even schedule an interview with us or visit our facility in person here in Pennsylvania. Regardless of how you choose to get in contact with us, we are ready, willing, and available to hear from you. 


Contact Us

For Help Today Email or Call us at 877-689-2644.

Little Creek Lodge
359 Easton Turnpike
Hamlin, PA 18427