The 12 Steps and Other Readings
The 12 Steps and Other Readings
The 12 Steps
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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.
The AA Preamble
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
From chapter 6 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
The feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The History of AA
(Excerpt taken from the website of Alcoholics Anonymous)
A.A. began in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, as the outcome of a meeting between Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon. Both had been hopeless alcoholics.
Before their meeting, Bill and Dr. Bob had each been in contact with the Oxford Group. This mostly nonalcoholic fellowship emphasized universal spiritual values in daily living. The Episcopal clergyman, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker, led the Oxford Groups in the U.S. at that time.
Under this spiritual influence, and with the help of an old-time friend, Ebby T., Bill had gotten sober. Bill maintained his recovery by working with other alcoholics. Yet, before meeting Dr. Bob, none of these other alcoholics had actually recovered.
At the same time, Dr. Bob’s Oxford Group membership in Akron had not helped him enough to achieve sobriety. When Dr. Bob and Bill finally met, the effect on the doctor was immediate. This time, he found himself face-to-face with a fellow sufferer who was succeeding.
Bill emphasized that alcoholism was a malady of mind, emotions, and body. Bill learned this important fact from Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital in New York. Bill had often been a patient of Dr. Silkworth. Though a physician, Dr. Bob had not known alcoholism to be a disease. Responding to Bill’s convincing ideas, Dr. Bob soon got sober, never to drink again. This sparked the founding of A.A.
Both men immediately set to work with alcoholics at Akron’s City Hospital. One patient quickly achieved complete sobriety. These three men made up the nucleus of the first A.A. group (though the name Alcoholics Anonymous was not yet used.)
Read more of the history of AA here