A twelve-step program is a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems following a set of guiding principles. Originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) as a method of recovery from alcoholism, the Twelve Steps were first published in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism in 1939. The method was then adapted and became the foundation of other twelve-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, and Al-Anon (for family members of alcoholics).
These are the original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is pleased to offer its facilities to those working to rid themselves and their loved ones of the ravages of addiction. Three such groups currently meet in our facilities.