Q – How it Works (Adapted from The AA Big Book)

Rarely have those living by the 12-Step principles seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed this path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want spiritual awakening and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with the Lie —cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now! Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon. Here are steps, similar to those followed by 12 Steppers for many decades worldwide, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1 – We admitted we were powerless over the Lie, and that by ourselves our lives were ultimately unmanageable.

2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could set us free from the Lie.

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

4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

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

6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, to offer us complete forgiveness through Christ’s redeeming work as we understood it, and were ready to forgive all that had transgressed against us.

7 – Humbly asked Him to forgive us, and to remove our shortcomings.

8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, forgave them for their part, and became willing to make amends to them all.

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

10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11 – 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.

12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others in spiritual need, regularly gather and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

Many have exclaimed “What an order! I can’t go through with it.’’ Do not be discouraged. No 12 Stepper has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles set down are guides to progress. We seek spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Recovery and spiritual awakening among 12 Steppers have made clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) We are powerless over the Lie, and cannot manage our own lives

(b) That probably no human power could have solved our spiritual problem

(c) That God could, and would, if this 12 step path were sought