12 Steps of AA

Alcoholism: The 12 Steps of AA

What are the 12 steps of AA?

The twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was published in 1939 by Bill Wilson and others in the book titled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism which fully described each of the steps in the 12-step program and AA’s philosophy. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship whose major objective is to help its members to “stay sober and help other alcoholics. The group consists of persons who have struggled with alcohol issues at some point in their lifetime. These individuals whose desire is to stop drinking alcohol come together to share their experience, strength, and aspirations with the hope of overcoming their addiction to alcohol. AA is the largest alcohol rehab network in the world with more than 2 million recovering alcoholics across the globe. AA’s Big Book outlines the 12 steps, the 12 promises, and the 12 traditions that forms the guiding principles for the group members

Although originally developed to help alcohol addict the 12-step model of AA has evolved into a multi-dimensional tool applied to a variety of addictions and behavioral health issues in public health such as:

  • Cocaine Addiction
  • Heroin Addiction
  • Narcotics Dependence
  • Crystal meth Addiction
  • Marijuana Addiction
  • Co-dependency Addiction
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Eating disorders.
  • Dual diagnoses.

aa 12 steps

How It Works, Big Book Chapter 5

RARELY HAVE WE SEEN a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided that you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought that we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol – cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power – that One is God. May you find him now.
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

AA 12 Steps

What is the first step in Alcoholics Anonymous? 

The first step is : We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable , the complete twelve steps are presented below :

  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 a 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.



Who wrote the 12 steps and 12 traditions?

Bill Wilson and others Wrote the 12 steps and traditions of AA

The 12 Promises of AA

  1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.
  2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  4. We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.
  5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
  6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  8. Self-seeking will slip away.
  9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
  10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
  11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

The 12 Traditions of AA

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
  2. 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.
  3. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Common Slogans of AA

  • First things first.
  • Don’t use no matter what.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Live and let live.
  • Let go and let God.
  • Time takes time.
  • One day at a time.
  • Principles before personalities.
  • Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
  • Misery is optional.
  • God doesn’t make junk.
  • Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
  • Live life on life’s terms.
  • You can’t think your way into a new way of living…you have to live your way into a new way of thinking.
  • The key to freedom is in the Steps.


What is the definition of an AA sponsor?
 An AA sponsor refers  to an alcoholic who has made some progress in AA recovery program and shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA’s program

What is the role of a sponsor in AA?

The role of a sponsor in AA is to help recovering alcoholics stay sober. It is the duty of the sponsor   to guide the member through  AA program, by serving as a listening ear  especially through the rough times that often accompany alcohol withdrawal  thus preventing relapse.


“Alcohol ruined me financially and morally, broke my heart and the hearts of too many others. Even though it did this to me and it almost killed me and I haven’t touched a drop of it in seventeen years, sometimes I wonder if I could get away with drinking some now. I totally subscribe to the notion that alcoholism is a mental illness because thinking like that is clearly insane.” 
― Craig Ferguson

Public Health Ng

Public Health Nigeria an Interdisciplinary public health movement focused on health education, advancing fair public health policies, promoting fitness, healthy diets, responsible behavior, community health and general well-being.

Public Health Ng
Public Health Nigeria an Interdisciplinary public health movement focused on health education, advancing fair public health policies, promoting fitness, healthy diets, responsible behavior, community health and general well-being.


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