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What Are the 12 Steps of AA?

Person asking someone else, "What are the 12 Steps of AA?"

Formal alcohol addiction treatment is the core of essentially all expert-backed plans for alcoholism recovery. However, these plans often include another beneficial component: enrollment in a 12-step program. Programs of this type get their name from their structure. All participants undertake a series of steps that progressively support durable abstinence. The classic model for 12-step alcohol recovery is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Contact BRC Healthcare at to learn more about the 12 steps of AA so our caring and compassionate team of professionals can help prepare you for this aspect of your sobriety journey.

What Is the 12-Step Approach?

Trained addiction treatment specialists did not create Alcoholics Anonymous. Instead, the organization’s founders had personal experience with alcohol-related problems. They wanted to create a repeatable path to lasting sobriety. In addition, they wanted to provide support for anyone who undertook that path.

Both of these features are essential to the AA approach. The 12 steps lay a mental, emotional, and spiritual roadmap for recovery. Support from your AA peers helps you maintain momentum as you move from step to step. It can also help you avoid drinking in moments of crisis.

What Are the 12 Steps of AA?

Alcoholics Anonymous is the template for all 12-step recovery groups. When creating the 12 steps, its founders used explicit references to God. Other groups following the same basic model have altered these terms to fit a more general, spiritual perspective. The 12 steps, as outlined by AA, are:

  1. Admitting that powerlessness over drinking has left your life out of control
  2. Believing that a higher power, God, is needed to help you regain control
  3. Deciding to turn your life and its outcomes over to God
  4. Honestly gauging your life and behavior from a moral perspective
  5. Admitting your shortcomings to yourself, God, and others
  6. Being ready to let God remove the defects in your thoughts and behavior
  7. Asking God to do this
  8. Creating a list of people to whom you must make amends for your actions
  9. Actively making amends whenever you can do so without causing further harm
  10. Making repeated moral inventories of your life
  11. Maintaining contact with God through prayer and meditation
  12. Paying the benefits of AA forward by helping others on their journey

The 12 steps are paired in Alcoholics Anonymous with the 12 traditions. That’s the group’s term for a series of principles that outline the structure and function of AA.

The 12 Steps in the Context of Your Overall Recovery

Recommendations to join a 12-step program are common in alcohol rehab programs. The combination of these two approaches has research-backed benefits. Some rehab facilities offer a treatment option called 12-step facilitation therapy. This therapy emphasizes three core principles:

  • Acceptance of the need for help to overcome substance problems
  • Surrender to the process of recovery
  • Active involvement in your 12-step program

It also prepares you to take part in AA or another 12-step group like Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Your facility may feature such a group onsite. Alternatively, you may receive a reference for an offsite group in your area.

Turn to BRC Healthcare for Alcohol Addiction Treatment

What are the 12 steps of AA? They’re a series of steps featured in Alcoholics Anonymous, a well-known mutual self-help group. Together, they help you make realistic progress toward lasting sobriety. They work exceptionally well when paired with formal alcohol treatment.

Want to learn more about AA and its 12-step approach? Talk to the addiction treatment specialists at BRC Healthcare. Our experienced and knowledgeable team of professionals is also your source for personalized, compassionate alcohol detox and treatment. For more details, call us today at . You can also contact us through our online form.