Alcoholics Anonymous And The Twelve Steps To Recovery From Addiction
Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization dedicated to helping alcoholics achieve sobriety. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. The founders were recovering alcoholics who found the support they needed to overcome their addictions from a spiritual society known as the Oxford Group. This group taught the road to spiritual enlightenment and self-improvement included self-inventory, admission of wrongs, making amends, prayer, meditation, and sharing the process with others.
Although not intended to cure alcoholism or addiction, the methods used by the Oxford Group were successful in treating otherwise hopeless cases of alcoholism such as that suffered by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. These two men took the tenets practiced by the Oxford Group and refined them specifically for alcoholics. With that, Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps were born.
The Twelve Steps as practiced by Alcoholics Anonymous include:
1. Admit powerlessness over alcohol. This step is important because many alcoholics believe they don’t have a drinking problem and they can stop drinking when they want. Realizing there is a problem is the first step to recovery.
2. Realize a higher power can restore sanity and sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous is based upon spiritual principles. They believe that man alone may not be able to overcome addiction, but a higher power can bring about a healing.
3. Decide to surrender to God. Giving up resistance to healing and accepting help from a spiritual source is often the support an alcoholic needs to gain control over his illness.
4. Conduct thorough and fearless self-inventory. Alcoholics must examine their past actions and come to an understanding of why they have an addiction problem. They must also come to realize whom they have hurt in the past because of their drinking.
5. Admit to oneself, others, and God, the nature of past wrongs. The wrongs committed in the past should be admitted to another person to remove the weight of carrying secrets and shame.
6. Be ready to allow God to heal character defects. Alcoholics Anonymous encourages each member to seek help from a higher power in the manner he feels most comfortable. For group purposes, the higher power is referred to as God.
7. Ask God to remove shortcomings. AA uses this spiritual step to ask the assistance of a higher power in removing the character flaws that led to alcoholism.
8. List every person wronged in the past. After a thorough self-inventory, an AA member is asked to make a list of every person he committed a wrong against.
9. Make amends to those wronged unless doing so would cause more harm. Clearing past conflicts lessens the weight of guilt and shame. Apologies should be made to everyone wronged in the past unless contact with the person would make the situation worse.
10. Undergo self-inventory continually and admit mistakes. Self-analysis should be ongoing to avoid denial and excuses. It is important to take responsibility for mistakes rather than escaping from them through alcohol.
11. Meditate and pray for guidance from God, that his will be done. Developing a rich spiritual life is one of the goals of AA, as this has been shown to help alcoholics recover from their addiction.
12. Share the Twelve Steps with other alcoholics so they may be healed as well. Every member of Alcoholics Anonymous is expected to help another addict get on the road to recovery by sharing the tenets of the Twelve Steps.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held in cities all around the world. The meetings are often held in local churches on all days of the week and different times of the day. Attending these meetings faithfully and adhering to the teachings of AA has helped change the lives of millions of alcoholics.