The Twelve Steps of AA have become a critical feature of their “program of recovery.” Although there are many support groups that are defined as 12 Step Programs, Alcoholics Anonymous really was the basis for the idea. It was started in 1935 as Alcoholics Anonymous, although, at that time, the twelve Steps of AA weren’t entirely developed.
Here are the second half of the 12 Steps as defined by Alcoholics Anonymous, and a reflection upon each. These are only one person’s opinion about the steps. This is not a comprehensive guide or substitute to any form of support.
The Last 6 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
This step is a continuation of Step Six: after being ready to change, they ask for change. This wording really suggests through use of prayer, or a higher-power, but in theory it could also be done through another individual. It is ultimately important that the alcoholic taking Step Seven recognize that they aren’t responsible for their changes, or if so, they wouldn’t have needed help to recover from drinking. It is a way for them to accept their limitations and to gain needed humility.
Eight: Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Once an alcoholic has committed to change their character, accepted and recognized their limits, and cleared away the past so they can look the world in the eye, they can then start to right wrongs. Many alcoholics have severe financial burdens, marital trouble, family problems, and other issues. All of these problems lead them to struggle with recovery. It is rare for an alcoholic to not cause any damage to someone else in their drinking. This is an important healing step for them and for others.
Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Having made a list of the people they harmed, it is now time to actually set things right. In Step Nine, the alcoholic goes about doing this. They do it in the “right” manner, however, where they insure it won’t hurt anyone else. For example: a spouse that was cheated on and doesn’t know anything about it. How to best approach that situation without damaging a strained marriage further, or perhaps causing problems for a third party. They also do this with the goal of not repeating past behavior, and to pay back and financial promises that are due. Step Nine is much more than just saying “I’m sorry” to someone who may have heard many broken promises already.
Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step Ten is considered a “maintenance” step. It is very important, though. The idea here is that we are all human and make mistakes, but no one needs to let their mistakes own them. Step Ten allows alcoholics to be human without beating themselves up, and also to not carry around a huge burden of emotional problems. It builds social and other skills that many substance abusers may lack or have trouble with.
Once you clear away your past burdens, you can move forward and look ahead to a bright future.
Eleven: 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.
Step Eleven is another way for the alcoholic to remember they are not cured of alcoholism, but that they are recovering from it. It allows them to leave in more peace each day, and to not have to carry the weight of the world on their backs. Many alcoholics are “all or nothing” type of thinkers. They figure they can do it all on their own, without help, and they are often very successful in other areas of life. This step helps give them perspective and remain humble.
Twelve: 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.
The final step of Alcoholics Anonymous is a culmination of all the prior ones. It embodies the principal that by giving freely, they can help others from the same problem they have, and also feel good about themselves and stay sober by doing it. It reminds alcoholics to continue to try to live honestly, decently, and morally, and to not harm others. It is a way for anyone in recovery to set a good example through their own actions.
12 Steps taken from