AA is a peer-based support system for recovering alcoholics and other addicts. Through its 12 steps, it teaches how to get sober and maintain that sobriety for life. It’s a controversial program with varying degrees of effectiveness, depending on who you ask. However, there is no question that AA has helped many people to get sober and stay that way. The program is based on the concept of a higher power, although it doesn’t specify who or what this higher power must be. That part is up to the participant. This article will answer the question: What are the 12 principles of AA?
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and couldn’t manage our lives.
This is basically saying that you can’t solve a problem unless you first admit that it exists. Since denial is a big obstacle for most people addicted to drugs and alcohol, this step makes absolute sense.
Step 2: We believe that only our higher power can bring back our sanity.
This is where the program requires you to be accountable to your higher power, whatever you conceive that to be. This is a key concept that will be repeated throughout the remaining steps.
Step 3: We decided to give our higher power complete control over our lives.
AA requires each participant to turn over power in their lives to their conception of God. Not everyone is comfortable with this idea or believes in it. Some people prefer to do things under their own power and through faith in themselves. AA doesn’t allow for this, though, so this program will not be for everyone.
Step 4: We made a thorough moral inventory of our inner selves.
AA actually provides a worksheet for this step and many of the others. You will be required to admit and write down every single one of your faults and character shortcomings. The process can take many months and must be thorough and comprehensive.
Step 5: We admitted our faults to ourselves, our higher power and another human being.
This is typically a very emotional step for most people. You will have a same-sex sponsor to help you through this step and also the even more difficult ones to follow. You can admit your wrongs to your sponsor as another human being if that would be easier.
Step 6: We prepared to ask our higher power to remove these faults.
This step is the emotional preparation for the next two steps, one of which is notorious for being among the very hardest. Your sponsor will help you with Step 6 and also will prepare you for Step 8.
Step 7: We asked our higher power to remove our faults.
In this step, you begin to see the deeply spiritual nature of AA.
Step 8: We listed every person wronged as a result of our addiction and prepared to make amends.
This step also has a worksheet, and you will likely need your sponsor’s help to do it correctly. It can take months or even years to get beyond Step 8, but it must be done correctly in order to complete Step 9.
Step 9: Whenever possible, we made these amends directly, unless to do so would cause more harm.
Step 9 also has a worksheet and your sponsor will help you with it. This is probably the most controversial of them all. Not only would it be almost impossible to identify every single transgression committed as a result of drug or alcohol abuse, but making amends would be very difficult in many cases. It might even makes things worse, although this step does allow for that. Someone could be struggling with Step 9 for literally years.
Step 10: We kept a daily vigil and worked to correct any faults as we recognized them.
This just means you must be vigilant and not allow yourself to slip back into old bad habits. It also means you must be accountable for your own actions and amenable to criticism and self-improvement.
Step 11: We continued to pray to our higher power for daily understanding and strength.
We see again the deeply spiritual side of AA. It means you must seek out God’s will for you and your life and rely on that strength to keep you sober.
Step 12: We took our message of hope out into the world to help others.
This just basically means that it’s your duty to go out and help others caught in the cycle of addiction.
If you Have More Questions
Just call us anytime at 844-903-2111 for more information about AA and its 12 steps. We can help you locate meetings in your neighborhood and help you with any other questions you may have.