An estimated 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women in America suffer from alcoholism. For them, drinking is not a matter of getting drinks with friends on the weekend. Instead, it's a matter of losing control over their lives and drinking in spite of the damage it has caused.
In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous formed to help those who suffered from alcoholism to reach the path to recovery. By 2018, AA membership rose to over 2 million members worldwide.
A major part of AA is completing the 12 step program, known as the AA 12.
Read on to find out what the AA 12 steps are and study them as you get closer to receiving your first AA medallion.
1. Admit the Problem
The first step in the AA 12 is admitting that alcohol has consumed your life and that you are powerless to it. Until you recognize that you are grappling with a true addiction, you will not move forward with recovery.
2. Look for a Power Greater Than Yourself
Once you recognize that you are powerless to alcohol, AA asks that you look to something outside of yourself for help. This will require you to reconnect with your spirituality and the higher power that speaks to you.
3. Give Your Life to Your God
You can't just learn to recognize your God anymore. You must also commit to your God and vow that you will live your life for your God. Release your power to your God so that you can get the help you truly need.
4. Soul Search
It is time for you to examine your life, the choices you've made, and the beliefs that you've lived by. Do not turn away from yourself but allow yourself to be honest. Take note of any guilt or shame you carry and any anger or embarrassment you may feel.
5. Admit to Your Past
Once you have looked upon your past on your own, it is time to reveal the nature of your past to others. Begin by admitting your misdeeds to your God.
Then, choose at least one other person to speak to. It is common for AA members to write down the things they must say and read them to their sponsors.
6. Ready Yourself for Your God to Remove These Defects of Character
By now, you have admitted your problems and faced the things in your past that are hard to look at. It is time to prepare to give those parts of yourself up to your God and allow your God to remove them. Grant yourself permission to be forgiven.
7. Ask Your God to Remove Your Shortcomings
Steps six and seven go hand in hand but it can take a long time to reach step seven. To achieve it, you must ask your God to remove your shortcomings and forgive you for your past.
8. Make a List of Those You Have Harmed and Prepare to Make Amends
You have already reflected on your past wrongdoings and shortcomings. It is now time to go one step further and make a list of the people who were hurt in the process.
This may be your family and friends who you abandoned on the road to alcoholism. It may be previous employers who gave you a shot to get your life together and who you failed. It could even be the people you once drank with, fought with, or stole from.
Wronging another person isn't always black and white. There may not be concrete evidence that you've caused a person harm. Think long and hard about how you feel you've treated others, how your behavior may have impacted them, and what you would do differently today.
9. Make Amends
Step nine is one of the hardest AA 12 steps. Facing the people you have hurt in the past can be difficult and you must go into it knowing that some people may not be ready to accept your apology.
You must also act with self-awareness. Do not revisit those who will be hurt by seeing you. Do not expect that everyone you speak with will let you back into their lives even if they're ready to accept your apology.
10. Continue to Practice Self Inventory and Admit to Current Wrongdoings
Making up for your past is a great place to start but you must also hold yourself accountable in the present. Alcohol was not the only thing leading you to behave in harmful ways and sometimes those behaviors may rear their heads once in a while. Be prepared to take responsibility for your actions and admit when you are wrong.
11. Continue to Nurture Your Relationship With Your God and Trust in His Path for You
Through prayer or meditation, you must keep the line of connection open between your God and yourself. Ask that your God show you the way and follow it. Trust that your God is working through you.
12. Spread the Word
By AA step 12, you are in recovery. You must work to maintain your status as a recovered alcoholic. You must work to keep your relationship with your God healthy and open.
Finally, you must help other alcoholics in need. Many members do so by becoming sponsors, themselves. Through the help of others and of your God, you have turned the page, and now you must extend that gift to someone else.
Make Your Way Through the AA 12
By following the AA 12, you will regain a life of love, trust, and happiness. You may feel compelled to start your own chapter to help more alcoholics or take over leadership in the chapter you started in.
For any AA coins, medallions, literature and more, contact us. Let us help you on your path to recovery.