12 Steps of AA

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  September 09 ,
| 4 Sources

Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that many alcoholics find helpful in recovery. It is a group for alcoholics, run by alcoholics.  As with anything, there are individuals who have had a negative experience with AA. For more on this topic, visit Is alcoholics anonymous a cult?

If you are curious about Alcoholics Anonymous, the first thing you can do it check out their official website, aa.org. Their website also has a search engine to look for local meetings. Meetings are offered every day, several times throughout the day. The benefit to this is that there is more opportunities to find a meeting that fits your schedule.

Alcoholics Anonymous uses the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. 

The AA twelve steps are as follows:

  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 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 others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Alcoholics can go to free meetings

To learn about the 12 steps of AA. At meetings, members speak about the various AA twelve steps and how to put them into practice.

It is important to work the steps in order, as each step builds on the steps before it. Members are also encouraged to find a sponsor, someone who has completed the AA twelve steps, to guide and encourage them as they work the steps.

While the 12 steps of AA may seem simple, it can be quite challenging to actually carry them out. For example, it can be frightening to acknowledge what a mess we have made of our lives.

It is emotionally difficult to make a list of all the people we have harmed due to our drinking, and even more difficult to make amends.

Support Groups

That’s why the support of the group is so important. We can’t complete the AA twelve steps on our own. Even if we could emotionally get through most of them without support (and it would be difficult), step 5 requires that we admit the exact nature of your wrong to another person.

Step 12 requires us to carry the message to others (generally done through participation in AA groups). The 12 steps are designed to be done with the support of an AA group.

It is expected that it will take some time to complete the 12 steps. It is not something to be rushed. It takes many people a great deal of time just to complete the first step.

Not everyone is a fan of the 12 steps of AA. Some people feel that saying we are powerless over alcohol just gives us an excuse to “stay stuck.”

They believe we need to feel powerful, not powerless. Others object to the spiritual component of the program.

Still, the AA twelve steps have helped tens of thousands of people, if not more, worldwide to stop drinking.

It is a highly recommended program, and is a component of many, if not most, alcoholism treatment programs in the United States.

To learn more about the 12 steps of AA, attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your area. Just look up Alcoholics Anonymous in your local yellow pages, or look them up online.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

More than the 12 steps of AA on our main 12 step program of AA page

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