The famous '12 steps' of 'Alcoholics Anonymous' (commonly simply referred to as 'AA') have been the solution for incalculable thousands of people who have gained control over their yearning for alcohol and have found healing in their lives.

The start for AA, and what seperates their methods from the sort of treatment practiced in many clinics, is the idea that alcoholism is fundamentally a disease of the personality. People become addicts because they have addictive personalities. To treat alcoholism therefore requires an entirely different approach than would be given to a normal disease of the body.

The 12 steps of AA are a moral and spiritual response to the personality . The steps are as follows:

1. We admitted we were weak with alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a Power higher than ourselves could reintroduce us to regain our mental health.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We confessed to God, to ourselves and to another human being the explicited nature of our .

6. We were totally ready to have God clear all these shortcomings of character.

7. We humbly call Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. We made a list of all persons we had burnt, and became willing to make amends to them all.

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

10. we continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly .

11. We aspire through prayer and meditation to enhance our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the capability to .

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the conclusion of these steps, we attempt to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


The birth of the 12 steps are distinctly Christian in nature, following the fundamental evangelical pattern of sin, confession, forgiveness and restoration. As in Christian theology too, the sinner always remains a sinner. No alcoholic is ever 'cured' of alcoholism. They will exist as an alcoholic till the day they die. The goal achieved through the 12 steps is simply to become a 'non-drinking alcoholic'.

AA has long lost touched with its Evangelical Christian . Indeed, many AA groups tend to be self-consiously distant from the church. One can only assume that this is because of the unhappy history of judgementalism and neglect that has been shown to many alcoholic persons by Christian congregations.

As suggested above, not every alcohol treatment program approves the 12 steps. Some in the medical profession are unconvinced to a spiritual approach to treatment, while some more spiritual rehabilitation programs abandon one or two of the steps, as some reject the idea that the alcoholic can never be cured of alcoholism.

Even so, one is tempted to say, 'a million non-drinking alcoholics can't be wrong'. The millions of persons who have found healing and hope through the 12 steps certainly testifies to their significance.

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