The Twelve Steps of Al-Anon

Al-Anon is a free international program founded by Lois Wilson, the wife of one of the men who founded Alcoholics Anonymous. She thought that a separate group needed to be formed, one that would focus on the loved ones and family members of those who suffer from addiction. As a result, it helps create a support group for families, one that will help them move and grow together through addiction. These 12-steps have been adapted from the program created by Alcoholics Anonymous, but have been adapted for family use.

The biggest change comes in the final step: instead of specifying reaching out to people who just struggle from alcohol addiction, it focuses Al-Anon on reaching out to other family members and friends of addicted individuals. That helps separate Al-Anon from other recovery programs.


Step one: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Acknowledging the problem is the very first step to regaining control over alcohol addiction. While members may find this step challenging, it is possibly the most important step on the road to recovery.


Step two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

By placing hope in the hands of a greater power, addiction can be viewed from a more dynamic perspective. The journey to sobriety has a guiding hand to help aid in struggling. While Al-Anon is not affiliated with any religious organization, faith is an integral part of the program. Understanding that everyone interprets God differently allows members to find their own higher power and release some of the burden to him.


Step four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Categorizing your positive and negative aspects can prove challenging. The idea of accountability for negative behavior can also be met with the good in every member of Al-Anon. Opening up about wrongdoings can help people in recovery achieve accountability for their actions. Admitting fault can lead to dedicated improvement in the lives of someone struggling with alcohol addiction.

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Step six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Surrendering control over the past while moving forward helps members to focus on recovery. Having a higher power to answer to and rely upon is an important step. While accountability is imperative, freeing oneself from the total burden is thought to encourage growth.

Making Amends

Step eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Finding peace after wrongdoing is an important step. Making amends can free those suffering from addiction and allow members to realize spiritual growth. In addition, those on the receiving end may feel more at ease with with what has happened, potentially rebuilding the relationship.

Spiritual Growth

Step eleven: 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.
Step twelve: 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.

Spiritual growth is a key element in the Al-Anon program. Seeking answers from a higher power, members can receive personal guidance through prayer and meditation. A will to find spiritual enlightenment can open the door to other endeavors for those in recovery. Helping others may provide a purpose to the individual, boost esteem, and aid overall life improvement.

We Can Help

Do not hesitate to contact the caring staff at AlcoholTreatment.netIf you, or someone you know could benefit from Al-Anon meetings, do not hesitate to contact the caring staff at We are here to help you find the right programs and resources to fit your needs, and live a healthier and happier life.

Labor Day and its surrounding parties can be seen as a fun exclamation point that sends off summer with one last big blast. Unfortunately for people recovering from alcohol abuse or addiction, it often serves as a dangerous period of potential relapse. If you’re concerned about suffering from a relapse during this Labor Day season, keep these simple sober living tips in mind.

Talk About It First

Talk to the hosts of any party you plan on attending and explain your position. Most hosts will understand your personal needs and will try to respect it by offering non-alcoholic alternatives. When you’re at the party, politely decline any alcoholic drinks that may be offered to you. A majority of the people there should understand.

Just be aware that some people may actually become suspicious and resentful if you tell them you are recovering from addiction. Resentment like this is called the “lobster effect,” because it resembles the way that tanked lobsters behave when one tries to escape: they pull them back down.

In other words, people feel that you are labeling their drinking as a problem by abstaining or speaking of your own drinking as a problem. Many of them may even try to convince you that you don’t have a problem and pressure you to drink. Don’t fall down that slippery slope: just politely explain that you are not judging them, but are simply trying to take control of a situation that has been taking over your life.

Bring A Sober Buddy

Drinking is often a social situation and if being surrounded by so many drinkers severely tests your willpower, bring along a sober buddy. This friend can be someone who doesn’t drink or who is also going sober. They can steer you away from the temptation to drink and can also serve as a great companion if the drinking gets too hot and heavy.

Staying sober in a heavy drinking situation can also serve as a great example of how you may have behaved when you were still struggling with addiction. Seeing the silliness of typical drunken behaviors from the outside ruins the nostalgia you may still associate with partying.

Bring Your Own (Non-Alcoholic) Drinks

Bringing your own non-alcoholic drinks to a party ensures you have something safe to drink. Excellent non-alcoholic drinks that you can enjoy at a Labor Day party include:

  • Soda
  • Punch
  • Lemonade
  • Limeade
  • Kool-Aide
  • Orange juice
  • Water

These drinks should be all that you and your sober buddy need to stay alcohol-free. However, if these drinks feel too “kiddish” or simple for you, there are several high-quality non-alcoholic drinks you can bring. However, for some people recovering from addiction, drinks like this can often seem very close to mixed drinks, and may trigger relapses.

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Avoid Possible Trigger Situations

Before planning to attend any Labor Day party, take a moment to consider your common trigger situations. Are there any people at the party that may trigger a relapse? What about the location: is it at a home or a cottage where you have excessively drank in the past? Or the food: is any of the planned cuisine something you often paired with alcohol?

Relapse triggers are often psychologically difficult to resist, and if necessary, you may simply have to avoid going to any Labor Day party: avoiding hurt feelings isn’t worth the risk of relapse.

Search Out Sober Activities

If the temptation to drink is too strong at parties with alcohol, you can try out any of the sober activities offered by AA and non-12-step rehabilitation groups, such as The Camping Trip. People who attend these events have access to a wide range of activities, including:

  • Swimming
  • Sporting events
  • Camping activities
  • Friendly competitions
  • Sober group discussions

Having a support group filled with people recovering from alcohol addiction can give you the strength you need to create a sober Labor Day.

Know How And When To Escape

If you’ve followed all these tips, but are still struggling to avoid taking a drink, make a quick exit as soon as possible. Don’t just stick around to be polite, because even taking one drink may start a chain reaction of relapse. Bringing your own car is the most sure-fire way to ensure you have a suitable way to escape.

Don’t worry too much about saying goodbye to anyone at the party: if your temptation is too strong, just go without explanation. If you fear any misunderstanding, call the host later. Any good friend will understand and support your need to escape.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

If you are interested in learning about even more sober Labor Day activities or tips on staying alcohol-free, please don't hesitate to contact us at AlcoholTreatment.netIf you are interested in learning about even more sober Labor Day activities or tips on staying alcohol-free, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Our free information can help you stay on the path to sober living this Labor Day.

Many people own a smartphone today or know of someone who does. Another tool that can help you or a loved one recover from an alcohol addiction is through apps on your smartphone. These alcohol recovery apps can help recovering individuals by tracking their sobriety, connecting them with meetings, contacting a sponsor, monitoring emotions and triggers, and more. While recovery apps are never meant to be used in place of treatment (or be the sole method of recovery), you might find that they can assist you on your journey and keep you on track.

Most of us use cell phones every day, so adding an alcohol recovery app and using it can help you continue along a good path. Many of us have our phones in our hands or at the ready throughout our day, so just looking at an alcohol recovery app on your phone could help remind you to stay on track. Some apps even offer to send inspirational quotes or messages daily to your phone. So, if you are interested in trying an app or two, you may wonder, what are the 10 best apps for alcohol addiction recovery?

12 Steps AA Companion - Alcoholics Anonymous

12 Steps AA Companion App

This app is for iPad tablets, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android. It has a sobriety calculator that tracks the number of years, months, days, and hours you have been sober. If you are looking for an original app that has been used by members of Alcoholics Anonymous, then this is the app for you. It also features a Big Book reader (the Big Book is the writings that are the basis of AA), a search tool, the ability to add notes and copy text, an AA contact database, and more. You can purchase the 12 Steps AA Companion app for $2.99 in the Apple app store and $1.99 in the Android app store.

The Big Book AA App

AA Big Book And More App

If paying for an app is not your thing, you should check out the AA Big Book and More app. It is called the “AA Big Book and More” in the Apple store, and is simply called “AA Big Book Free” or “Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous” in the Android store. Both apps are free and contain the Big Book text, sobriety calculator, and also will deliver a daily motivational message to your phone.

AA Speakers To Go App

The AA Speakers to Go app is found on Apple products (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) and Android devices. If you are busy and don’t have time to read, this is the perfect app for you. This app comes with over 400 speaker tapes dating from the 1930s to the present, a Big Book study that was recorded in Nashville, and more. You will hear stories just like in an AA meeting. Whether you are on the road or just want to listen (and not read), this app could be right for you. It’s free in the Android store, and only $4.99 in the Apple store.

Today’s Step: Recovery App

The Today’s Step: Recovery app does not have a sobriety tracker like some other apps. However, if you love to receive daily inspirational quotes and messages along with video exercises to help you maintain sobriety, this is the app for you. It’s a great app that can give you the reminder you need to keep you on track. It has stories from people who are also in recovery, and also offers meditation assistance. This app is available for $2.99 for both Apple and Android products.

I Am Sober AppI Am Sober App

The I Am Sober app does not offer a Big Book study guide, so this app is best used along with an app that does offer the Big Book. However, this app’s simple yet easily navigable design and clean interface is appealing to users. It’s an easy way to track your sobriety and marks milestones on your sobriety journey. The I Am Sober app can be purchased for $1.99 at both the Apple and Android stores.

RecoveryBox Addiction Recovery Toolbox App

While not available for Android, the RecoveryBox Addiction Recovery Toolbox app might be a good option for those with Apple products. This app not only allows you track your sobriety, but it also allows you to track your triggers and activities to monitor your sobriety. It’s $1.99 in the Apple app store.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day App

The Twenty-Four Hours a Day app is offered for both Apple and Android users. If you have been to a 12-step program (or the like to utilize meditation on your road to recovery), this app could be the perfect fit for you. With this app, you will receive daily meditations (from the best-selling meditation book) on your road to recovery. You can share messages with your friends via sync to email, bookmark your favorite meditations, search meditations by keyword, get a reminder notification each day to read your daily message, shake your phone to get a random inspirational message, customize the font size, and more. The price is $4.99 for both Apple and Android products, but with so many features, it’s definitely worth the price. Android and Apple users give the app 5 stars.

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Joe And Charlie Big Book Study App

Joe and Charlie Big Book Study can be found on the Android store. If you are an Apple user, look up the app under the name, “Joe and Charlie.” This app also allows you to track your sobriety and gives you access to recorded tracks of Joe and Charlie (members of AA) speaking about recovery. These tracks were recorded in 1988 after Joe and Charlie were sober for 20 years. Joe and Charlie are witty in these tracks, but they also have a serious side. It also offers text of the Big Book, the serenity prayer, a sobriety calculator, the AA Preamble, and many more things to help your sobriety journey. The app free and ready to install on your Android device right now, and just $2.99 in the Apple app store.

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SoberTool App

If you feel that you are tempted or feel triggered to take a drink, download this app right now. SoberTool app was developed by a licensed chemical dependency and certified alcoholism counselor and its purpose is to help you kick your cravings. Anytime you feel that you crave or are tempted to have alcohol, simply just click on the app, and questions will appear on your screen. These questions will lead you to a message of staying sober and will help you address the trigger or temptation causing the craving. It’s free for Apple and Android users, so try it today.

Sober Grid App

All of the apps so far have been some of the best apps out there to help with your alcohol addiction, but Sober Grid is something that’s different and unique. It’s also a FREE app for both Android and Apple devices that helps you stay sober anywhere in the world. It’s a sober social networking app that allows you to connect with a global sober community. You can make new friends or connect with current friends to help you stay sober. You can share content on the news-feed and have private chats with other sober individuals. It also gives you the access to seek help from the sober community. And, you have the option to stay completely anonymous or to provide as many details (or as few) as you want about yourself. This is an exciting app, so check it out and install it on your device today!

Apps And Your Recovery

Contact us today to learn more about different tools, apps and options available to help you on the road to recoveryThere are hundreds of apps that can help you on your road to alcohol addiction recovery. Hopefully this list gives you an idea of the many top-rated apps out there. Check out the apps above (or others) to find out more information and to read app reviews. Finding an app to help you with recovery is a great tool to use in maintaining sobriety. Whether you find one or ten recovery apps that you like, it’s definitely worth a try! Contact us at today for more information or for help getting into a recovery plan that is best for your needs.

When a person is in a marriage or partnered relationship with someone addicted to alcohol, it’s not just the person dependent on alcohol who suffers, the partner is also directly affected, as they have to deal with everything from emotional distress to financial worries. It often falls to the sober partner to “pick up the pieces” and maintain. The stress this puts on them is very real and they are just as deserving of help as the person who struggles with drinking.

The partner of a person who drinks is often in the sad position of being in conflict or distress with the very person who might ordinarily be their closest confidant. The person they would normally go to for support, advice or comfort is the source of the problem itself. This can leave them feeling very alone and without anywhere to turn.

Family And Friends Aren’t Always The Solution

Sometimes friends or family don’t grasp what the husband, wife, or partner of the dependent are dealing with. Often when one hasn’t had their own experience with someone struggling with alcohol addiction, they can’t fully empathize with someone who is going through the stress of being in such a relationship. This isn’t always true, but it is in many cases, particularly if the person who is dealing with the issue has a sparse circle of friends or family to go to.

It can be frustrating to try to seek solace from someone who leaves you feeling: They just don’t understand. Or someone who can’t see past their own anger at the situation. Their advice often boils down to just leave them and the relationship. This can be aggravating when have your own, informed reasons for not believing that that’s the right course of action. They may mean well, they love and care for you and just don’t want to see you hurting; but their dismissive viewpoint can actually add to your distress.

Barriers To Obtaining Help

Organizations and groups exist to help the spouse/partner of a person dependent on alcohol, but sometimes circumstances such as lack of transportation, a physical disability, or psychological condition such as agoraphobia could preclude a person seeking help outside of the home. Maybe one lives in a sparsely populated or isolated area where no such groups exist. They might be afraid of potential stigma attached to being open about marital problems. They may just be too shy to open up to someone publicly. Perhaps the spouse/partner has ideological disagreements with an available organization’s methods. In any case, sometimes support just isn’t easily at hand in everyone’s community.

Whether you just need someone to talk to, or need actual assistance of some sort, the internet can be a great alternative to traditional walk-in-the-door methods of getting help.

Talking It Out With Peers

Sometimes all you’re looking for is a way to vent your feelings, to talk about your situation instead of bottling it up. Talking to others who have been there or are going through the same things can be very supportive. There is a wealth of message boards, forums, chat rooms, and discussion groups you can find with a simple search. Often on these you’ll meet friendly people who can direct you to other helpful resources, or just lend a virtual shoulder to cry on. You can usually spend some time unregistered just “lurking” and reading what others have said to gauge whether or not a given website would be comfortable for you to actually take part in. If you don’t like the back-and-forth that takes place on one website, there are dozens more to choose from. Spend some time checking out various sites and you’re bound to find one or more that would work for you.

Some people find it easier to be open in an online setting than they would face-to-face. The anonymity of communicating from behind a keyboard can sometimes be freeing to someone who might be too shy to discuss things like alcohol dependency in person. A sense of privacy can be comforting, and maybe encourage a struggling spouse to seek further help of some sort. Maybe you’re not actually looking for a solution to a problem, either. If you’re not seeking feedback, but only want confirmation that It’s not just me going through this, you can just do some reading and not take part in discussions.

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The Role Of Social Media In Support

Social media can be a great outlet, as well. This is best approached carefully, however. One should take into consideration that the privacy of all individuals involved needs to be respected. You might need to be more discreet about what you do and do not share in a social setting online, just as you would at an actual gathering of people such as a party.

Some people do go so far as starting a personal blog to share their experiences and thoughts. Sometimes all we need to do is get it out there, give voice to what’s going on in our lives and minds so that we can take a step back and look at where we are. Input from others who read can maybe shed a new perspective we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And maybe sharing your own experiences might just help someone else. It can be empowering to know that by sharing your own situation, you have helped another going through the same thing. Beware, however. If your website allows commentary, not everyone is understanding or kind. Some people “troll” the internet with the sole intention of pushing people’s buttons, offending or criticizing for their own cruel and selfish entertainment. Website commentary is very often the venue of choice for a commenter’s snark.

Beyond Talk: Assistance From Resources

Sometimes the need is there for actual help of some kind, assistance or support that goes beyond just talking. The internet can be a valuable resource for this as well.

Books, Articles, And Reports

If it’s research you’re seeking, you can find scholarly articles, scientific reports, and medical journals reprinted online. Often these are readily available to the public and free. Sometimes there may be a fee charged by magazines that offer online versions of print issues.

You can shop for self-help or reference books as well through websites such as, Barnes&, Ebay, and many others. One benefit of doing your shopping online is that there may be reviews by people who have already read the books you are considering. You can look at the reviews and gauge whether or not said book would offer the sort of knowledge you seek. A few websites also let you read a selection of pages before purchasing.

Library websites can be great ways to find resources, as well. Many list their entire catalog so you can search for a book or other source such as a DVD by title, author, subject, etc. A lot of libraries are now making audio books, digital books, and reports available as downloads for e-readers, tablets, and cell phones. Usually these services are all free.

You can find some books or programs available for sale via downloads or direct sales. These would be on websites from the author or organization that created the book or program. It is helpful prior to committing to a purchase to do some searching to see if others have read these books or tried these programs and what they have to say about the value of them.

Support Groups, Outreach Centers, And Shelters

The internet is a great way to find local support groups. Many post locations and schedules for meetings or gatherings organized by locale. They also make phone numbers available to confirm dates and times, and sometimes can offer other types of support.

If things have reached a point where you might actually need to remove yourself from the situation with your loved one, many outreach centers and shelters for victims of domestic abuse have websites with information, addresses, and contact information. They usually have 24-hour emergency lines available and posted on their sites.

We Can Offer The Support You Need

Contact if you need help with someone suffering from alcohol dependencyIf you find yourself in a domestic relationship with someone suffering from alcohol dependency and need assistance, is here to help. If you don’t know where to turn or what to do, contact us – we’ll be happy to guide you toward what you need to not feel alone or helpless in your situation.


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the most utilized recovery tools available. The program, founded in the 1930s centers around the 12 steps, a series of spiritual principles that serve as individual guideposts for an individual’s physical and spiritual recovery from alcohol addiction. Widely accessible and free, AA’s 12-step recovery process has served as a powerful tool in helping many overcome their struggles with alcohol since it’s inception.

Today, several offshoots of the program exist, modeling after the same 12-step model, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA), and Pills Anonymous (PA), to name a few.

Where Do I Get Started With An Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program?

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are typically posted publicly with crisis centers, hospitals, libraries, and other community organizations. A search at can also help you locate a meeting in your area. At your first meeting, you’ll likely be given a list of meeting times, meeting topics, and groups hosted in your area.

How Alcoholics Anonymous And The 12-Step Program Work

As a fellowship dedicated to helping those battling an addiction to alcohol, AA centers around regular group meetings. These meetings are open and free to anyone interested getting sober.  The only requirement for participation in the program is a desire to stop drinking. There are two types of meetings: open and closed. Open meetings may include anyone interested in attending, whether they are current drinkers, interested observers, or actively participating in the program. Closed meetings are open to participating AA members only.

There’s also a subtle difference between meetings and groups. Meetings are held regularly, are moderated to some degree by a leader, and tend to center around alternating themes like codependency, sponsorship, gratitude, and coping skills. Meetings may also invite a speaker to share their story or professional insights or begin with a Q&A for those new to the program. An AA group is more informal and may be held at any time and include as few as two to three people who are all committed to working the steps and adhering to the tradition of the program.

Part of the tradition of AA, as the name suggests, is a strict adherence to anonymity. Those who attend meetings or groups are asked that they not share the experiences of others outside of the group. This anonymity affords a level of openness that is important for those recovering from addiction.

One of the more moving aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs is that, by design, it creates continuum of support built upon the experience of those overcoming alcohol addiction, from the beginner to the person who has remained sober for 30 or more years. Each member has a shared responsibility to other members within the group to step up and offer support as is needed.

When attending your first or first few meetings, you’ll receive a warm welcome and be offered an additional level of encouragement. Those in attendance are all too aware of the challenges of getting sober in those first few months and are eager to help newcomers feel comfortable and welcome. An individual is never required or be pressured to speak. And while collections are taken to support the group, it is not a requirement.

Meetings specific to the 12 steps are held regularly and will address each individually. Groups may form between individuals at similar stages in their recovery and are hugely beneficial as a way to maintain momentum in the program. When an individual has been in the program for a period of a few months or more, they may request a sponsorship from another member of the group who has been sober for a longer period of time (often five years or more). A sponsor acts as a guide and mentor, helping you stay on task with your sobriety in following the steps and avoiding some of the pitfalls common to those newly in recovery.

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Efficacy Of The Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program

There are few studies available to conclude the ultimate efficacy of 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous due to their high level of anonymity. However, through program interviews and assessments, and use of the program by rehabilitation centers, those who apply the 12 steps and attend regular meetings have a significantly higher success rates in achieving long-term sobriety.

In 1998, a federal study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism looked at the efficacy of 12-step programs compared with other treatment types including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy. While these programs were all determined to be effective at helping people achieve sobriety, the AA 12-step program achieved slightly higher rates of long-term sobriety.

Why Attending An AA Is Helpful For Current Drinkers

Alcoholics Anonymous welcomes anyone to attend their meetings, as long as there exists an honest desire to stop drinking. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be in recovery to attend. For many, it is through sitting in on an AA meeting that they discover recovery is possible. They are introduced to others who share similar stories to their own and have stopped drinking, and for some, a meeting can offer a level of support and understanding not found elsewhere. Hearing the stories of others can help current drinkers overcome their denial about the addiction and move forward with a plan toward sobriety.

Governance Of Alcoholics Anonymous

While the program goal is not to develop a hierarchy, it does include some structure for the sake of preserving its traditions. Group leaders or “officers” share in the responsibility of conducting meetings, ensuring the integrity of materials covered, handling contributions, and in some cases, acting as public relations persons. Officers are also critical in helping those new to AA locate a meeting and become involved in the program.

Help For Alcohol Dependency

Contact us and speak with someone in confidence today and make this your first step toward a life-long recovery.If you or someone you love is suffering with an addiction to alcohol, is a life-line of online resources and can connect you with the professional support and comprehensive, evidence-based recovery programs that meet your individual needs. Contact us and speak with someone in confidence today and make this your first step toward a life-long recovery.


The message behind each of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps is a guide to becoming centered as a human being. The core themes appearing in the framework of the program are those of honesty, faith, surrendering to a higher power, acceptance, forgiveness, service to others, and the encouragement to follow a vein of spirituality. They also provide a platform to allow someone to begin the process of recovery, one achievable step at a time.

Someone newly in recovery may feel overwhelmed with the enormous task of reconstructing their life post-treatment. The steps, as laid out by Alcoholics Anonymous, allow for a smoother transition from the chaos of addiction to a more orderly approach that reduces anxiety and stress common to the process.

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

  • We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.
  • We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • We are entirely ready to have God (Higher Power) remove all these defects of character.
  • We humbly asked Him (Higher Power) to remove our shortcomings.
  • We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  • We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, we promptly admitted it.
  • We 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 it out.
  • Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The 12 Steps Of Alcoholics Anonymous Explained

Step One “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”

This is a key first step and is critical toward gaining any traction in recovery. People attempt sobriety for many reasons. A spouse may threaten divorce, child custody may be hanging in the balance, a career may be at risk, but unless the person seeks sobriety because they can see the whole picture and the loss of control over the addiction, they may get clean temporarily only to relapse.

The first step is really about being honest with yourself. When we tell ourselves that we are in control, we ignore the reality of the addiction, fail to address corresponding issues related to the addiction, and are vulnerable to a whole host of threats to our sobriety. Being honest and acknowledging the addiction is the first step in finding a solution to overcome it.

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Step Two “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

While some aspects of this step may mean different things for different people, step two embraces the notion that we are unable to solve the problem of our addiction without help. And that faith in a higher power, whether it be God, or the program, is needed to help someone achieve sobriety.

Step Three “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.”

The third step may also be interpreted to mean a literal higher power for the program, and again the idea is one of surrendering to something more powerful than our individuality. If we think of step two as the way to seek out a treatment plan, step three would apply to the act of entering rehabilitation.

Step Four “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

This step can be as excruciating as the withdrawal process for many. It involves searching within and discovering the wrongs and shortcomings within us. This process involves a literal honest inventory of those character flaws that may have nurtured the addiction.

While painful, this process can offer enormous relief in finally relenting to the acknowledgement of our mistakes and flaws that may be remedied toward becoming a better, stronger person.

Step Five “We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

This step is about building integrity within ourselves and the greater AA community. By openly acknowledging our shortcomings in group meetings, not only does the individual experience a sense of relief, but those around the individual, each with their own set of shortcomings, may relate and feel more comfortable opening up and sharing.

Step Six “We are entirely ready to have God (Higher Power) remove all these defects of character.”

Step six is about acknowledging the reality of your situation, letting go of the old ways, and allowing for positive change.

Step Seven “We humbly asked Him (Higher Power) to remove our shortcomings.”

Step seven is about asking for help and having enough humility to seek guidance along your path toward recovery. We are raised to believe we are the centers of our universe, but this is not a helpful attitude when it comes to recovery from an addiction to alcohol. Instead, step seven helps us to maintain a humble approach forward; one that is not too proud to ask for help when and where it is needed, can mean the difference between relapse and a successful recovery.

Being humble also allows us to remain open to positive criticism or suggestion that will be of benefit during recovery.

Step Eight “We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

When using, people make many mistakes. Some of these mistakes may be severe and may have resulted in the loss of life. Others may involve money you borrowed from a friend to purchase alcohol that was never repaid. Making a list of these wrongs not only helps us remain humble and reminds us of the frightening reality of our life with alcohol, but it also leads us to the next step, in seeking forgiveness.

Step Nine “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

This step is about making contact with those you have wronged in some way, whether big or small, and attempting to make amends or to repay your debt, as able. When starting on this list, it can feel like an insurmountable task, but begin with something that is easier and you’ll soon find yourself reconnecting with friends, family, and acquaintances. Not everyone will welcome you with open arms, but it isn’t about the response you get; it’s that you make the effort.

Step Ten “We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, we promptly admitted it.”

This is a maintenance step for steps eight and nine. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. This step is about making sure these mistakes don’t continue to feed guilt and generate anxiety, but are instead addressed and let go. This step is part of a positive coping strategy. It allows us to face those things that we might have found too scary to address in the past.

Step Eleven “We 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 it out.”

In many ways, this step is about mindfulness. Being mindful of the positive forces in your life, whether God, the program, or some other spiritual belief, that you are opening yourself to the momentum brought about by positive actions in your life. This step can help eliminate doubt, relieve anxiety, and help you reduce stress by allowing for quiet meditation or reflection.

Step Twelve “Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Live the life you intend to live using these principles to guide you whether in your recovery or in your daily life. You might choose to become a sponsor for someone newly entering recovery, or perhaps you will continue to share your story at group meetings long into your sobriety. Step twelve is about service to others as it relates to the steps you’ve taken to achieve sobriety. As a graduating step, it really begs the question, “What will you do with this profound knowledge and experience to help others?”

The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a self-supportive entity that is not overseen by any outside influences. As such, the 12 Traditions were established as a sort of guideline to help AA continue to function and stay in existence. These guiding principles help the groups, or meetings, in AA run smoothly and exist independently of each other and outside support.

The Traditions listed here are the “short form” of the original 12 Traditions. This is the form that is typically used today.

The 12 Traditions of AA:

  • One — Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  • Two — For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.
  • Three — The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  • Four — Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups, or A.A. as a whole.
  • Five — Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  • Six — An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  • Seven — Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  • Eight — Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  • Nine — A.A., as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  • Ten — Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues, hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  • Eleven — Our public relations policy is based upon attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  • Twelve — Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Does The 12 Steps Model Work?

For many, the 12 steps model of Alcoholics Anonymous is the sole reason they were able to get and stay sober. Founded in the 1930s by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson, AA has been the cornerstone of alcohol addiction recovery for more than 80 years. This program is based on the belief that by helping others get and stay sober, an individual can stay sober as well.

The AA Big Book is the primary source of literature used in AA and thoroughly explains the 12 steps that are used as a guideline to recovery. Through personal stories and anecdotes, the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book outlines the steps that have been successful in helping countless individuals recover from alcoholism.

At the end of the day, AA has been around as long as it has because it works. Countless studies have shown that AA is a proven method of recovery. However, there’s one catch: individuals in AA have to thoroughly work the steps and stay diligent to the program. Without this commitment, there is less of a chance of success in AA. So, whether or not the 12 step model works will depend on the individual.

More Information About The 12 Steps Of AA

There are many treatment options that put the 12 steps of AA at the forefront of their program. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs that incorporate AA into their method of recovery are available, and chances are there’s a treatment center near you.

Twelve-step meetings and groups can be very beneficial in the treatment and throughout the entire recovery process, as they challenge individuals to address their problems in addiction and find a solution. This program also provides the opportunity for people to form lasting bonds with others in recovery and to discover things to do for fun sober.

If you are looking a meeting near you, you can visit the AA website to find meetings in your area or contact our treatment specialists for more information.

An estimated 17.6 million people, or one out of every 12 adults in the United States, abuses alcohol. Millions more engage in risky drinking behavior, including binge drinking, which can lead to serious health problems, and drinking and driving. The behaviors exhibited by individuals who abuse alcohol can have a serious impact on family and friends, creating a toxic environment. Addiction can lead to marital problems, including separation and divorce, and alienate children and spouses. Support groups for families of alcoholics are helpful for both the family members and the individual who enters treatment. Dealing with an alcoholic family member can be an emotionally draining and isolating experience; support groups remind family members that they are not alone.


Living with Alcoholics: Family Support for Intervention

If you are living with someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse, it can be a frustrating and emotionally exhausting experience. Oftentimes families fragment into a collection of separate individuals who are simply existing under the same roof, rather than remaining a strong, cohesive family unit. Without any stability, family members feel alone and have no one to turn to for support. Family members may feel they have to “hide the truth” about what is happening to their loved one and feel like they are “living a lie.”

In order to cope with a loved one’s abuse, some family members choose to “look the other way”, attempting to ignore this abusive and destructive behavior. Unfortunately, ignoring a loved one’s addiction only enables continued alcohol abuse, creating a toxic and unhealthy environment. Getting help for a loved one and staging an intervention, however, is an emotionally draining and stressful experience. Support groups for families of alcoholics can help you stop the cycle of enabling behavior and better help your loved one. Support groups provide resources for planning an intervention and can connect you with affordable treatment programs in your community.

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Supporting Recovery & Long-term Sobriety

Family support groups will continue to be important even after your loved one completes treatment. Following treatment, you may find that new tensions arise. Common sources for stress include family conflicts, relationships, work and school, finances, and health concerns. It is natural for family members to experience trust problems and fear that their loved one will suffer a relapse. At times of tension and conflict, it may seem like things will never get better. Family members who are trying to support a loved one’s recovery also need support.

It is critical that the entire family be involved in the recovery process. Family support groups are an opportunity for family members to learn the best ways to support their loved ones during the recovery process. Many alcohol treatment centers provide family members with educational resources and the opportunity to attend joint counseling sessions with their loved ones. After individuals complete treatment, family members will continue to benefit from support groups. These support groups make it easier for everyone to institute a lifestyle change that supports individuals during the recovery process. For example, creating a supportive home environment that is free from alcohol is important to reducing the temptation for relapse. Support groups provide individuals with a safe place to share their fears and worries while finding comfort in the journeys and experiences of other group members.

Seeking Support: Finding Resources in Your Community

Joining a community support group is an important first step to better supporting a loved one during the recovery process.Just as an individual in recovery requires support from friends and family, so too do the individual’s family members. Family support groups provide the emotional support and resources necessary for family members to constructively support their loved ones during the recovery process. In addition to treating a loved one for their alcohol abuse, 12-step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous and inpatient treatment programs also provide critical resources for family members of alcoholics. Joining a community support group is an important first step to better supporting a loved one during the recovery process. Contact and get started today.

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