The original 12-step program was founded in 1938 in Ohio and allows recovering addicts help those suffering from addiction. Originally, drug addicts were not welcome to the closed meetings unless they were also ready to give up alcohol. Many drug addicts were also codependent on alcohol and vice versa. The principals of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are used by many other organizations helping those recover from specific addictions. In 1953, AA gave Narcotics Anonymous (NA) permission to use its traditions as well as the 12 steps, which is the hallmark of this program.
Ways to Recover
Recovery is usually sought in several ways, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Physical recovery is best described as an allergic reaction to the body when it does not have the alcohol. Mentally, an addict must take control of the urges and behaviors he or she suffers from and gain control of the compulsion to drink or do drugs. Emotionally, the addict needs to work through the process that would cause him or her to go back to drinking once stopped. Spiritually, the awaking must happen for the addict to slowly, over time, come to the realization that he or she will get better by working the 12-step program through its completion.
The 12 Steps of Recovery
● Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.
● Step 2 – We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
● Step 3 – We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
● Step 4 – We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
● Step 5 – We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
● Step 6 – We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
● Step 7 – Humbly, we asked God to remove our shortcomings.
● Step 8 – We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
● Step 9 – We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
● Step 10 – We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
● Step 11 – We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
● Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
There is a divide between the scientific community and the recovery community as to why AA 12-step programs work. The scientific-based programs want numbers data and evidence to show why it works, but frankly over the past 75 years of AA/NA history just doesn’t have it. Their name says it all and because of their anonymity, and they haven’t felt the need to prove it to anyone. Many long-term recovering AA/NA members say the 12-step program works, and this is quite reassuring.