Find a meeting

The 12 Step Programme

Medical evidence shows alcoholism is a progressive illness that can be stopped only through total abstinence from alcohol.

For many, AA’s 12-Step programme works.

Footprints from a person walking on grey sand

Why the 12 Steps Work

The 12 Steps provide a structured and gradual process of recovery.

It works by helping change thoughts, behaviours and relationships related to addiction.

The process involves admitting you have a problem, seeking help from others, making amends for past harms, and living a sober and responsible life.

The steps foster a sense of belonging and support. Alcoholics support other alcoholics. They share their experiences, strength, and hope; this helps reduce the isolation, shame, and stigma.

The shared approach helps your motivation and commitment, with regular attendance at meetings, often with support of a sponsor.

The steps offer healing, forgiveness, and a new direction in life. You’ll find tools and resources to cope with stress, cravings, and triggers.

The final step is to use your own sobriety to reach out and help other, still struggling alcoholics.

‘God’ in the 12 Steps absolutely does not have to be a religious entity. The purpose is to think of a higher power, such as nature, or simply what happens when people come together to help each other.

The 12 Steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  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. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, 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 the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Newcomers are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps if they feel unwilling or unable to do so.

They will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read supportive AA literature.