Originally designed to help alcoholics overcome their dependence on alcohol, the model has grown to address nearly any type of addictive behavior. Today, most addiction treatment facilities incorporate the 12-step program in some way, because it is relatively easy to follow and it boasts a high success rate in the recovery process.

History of 12 Steps

The history of the 12 steps begins more than 75 years ago, with a Wall Street banker and alcoholic named Bill Wilson. Wilson overcame his addiction through the Oxford Group, a Christian group that had helped other alcoholics through simple, biblical teaching. Once in recovery, Wilson teamed up with another recovering alcoholic, Dr. Bob Smith, to form Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 1935. From its humble beginnings, AA grew to become the worldwide leader in helping alcoholics turn from their addiction. The program was also revised to address a wide range of addictions using the same 12 principles.

Overview of 12 Steps

The 12 steps are as follows:

  1. Honesty – We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable
  2. Faith – Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  3. Willingness – Made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to the care of a higher power as we understood him
  4. Insight – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  5. Integrity – Admitted to the higher power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
  6. Acceptance – Were entirely ready to have our higher power remove all these defects of character
  7. Humility – Humbly asked our higher power to restore our shortcomings
  8. Accountability – Made a list of all the persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
  9. Reconciliation – Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  10. Conservation – Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it
  11. Spirituality – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our higher power as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out
  12. Helping Others – 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

12 Steps in Treatment Today

While the original 12 steps were based on a Christian foundation, the principles have been modified to fit with nearly any belief system. No matter how you see faith and spirituality, you can make the 12 steps work for your personal recovery process. To learn more about the 12 steps or find an addiction treatment facility that incorporates the 12 steps into their recovery process, contact Treatment Now.