History of the 12-step program

The history and origin of the twelve steps of Alcoholic Anonymous (and now other sober support groups that adhere to the twelve steps) begins with the experience of one Rowland Hazard. In the lobby of Carl Jung, Rowland came to the now famous psychiatrist for treatment of his alcoholism. This encounter came about because of Rowland’s relapse. Dr. Jung informed the gentleman that he was hopeless and that unless Rowland experienced a spiritual awakening, there was no particular hope in overcoming the disease of alcoholism.

Events from this experience led Rowland to encounter the Oxford Group. This group lived out a simple truth of Christianity most today may not even adhere to. While there is some discrepancies and historical inconsistencies, the reality is how Alcoholic Anonymous has developed in reaching people who are not only suffering from chronic substance use of Alcohol, but other dysfunctional addictions as that of Sexual, Over-eaters, Workaholics, Narcotics, and even Gambling. The twelve steps have evolved and conformed to meet the needs of those engaged in the fellowship and recovery process that may come about through working the steps.


Step One

We admitted we were powerless and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Two
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step Three

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step Four

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step Five
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step Six
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step Seven
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step Eight

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step Ten
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 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 Twelve
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


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