History of the 12 Step Program

The 12 step program is over 70 years old. In that time it has helped thousands of people with the treatment of alcoholism. The program was started in the late 1930s by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith.  The two were devoutly religious, and this was reflected in the doctrine of the 12 steps although some religious references have been removed, especially in some groups.

Original 12 & The Big Book

The 12 original steps involved admitting that alcohol had power over you and made it impossible to lead a healthy and productive life. A faith in a greater power was key to restoring order and function to life.  The original 12 steps were first published in 1939 in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. This is sometimes called The Big Book at AA groups.

Other steps include admitting to oneself, God, and other human beings that you are responsible for your actions and are acutely aware of what you have done that is wrong and harmful to your well-being and those around you.

Moral Inventory And Apology

A moral inventory has always been a key part of the 12 step program. Those that are struggling with alcohol are encouraged to take an honest and hard look at the past and make a list of past actions and who they have harmed. It is expected that recovering alcoholics try to make some amends for these wrongs, even if all that can be done is an apology or letter acknowledging that they were wrong.

Modern Adaptations

A lot has changed in the world since the 1930’s. Some groups have chosen to alter the 12 step program to accommodate those that are not devout Christians. What it comes down to is that no matter what religious creed you are nor the level of addiction you are suffering from, the basic principles of admitting you have a problem, acknowledging past actions, making amends, and finding ways to cope and heal are all rules for successful alcohol treatment.

Knowing You Are Ready

You are willing to improve your life and take on alcohol addiction the minute you know in your mind that it is ruling your life. AA groups and 12 step programs are very welcoming and understanding groups that offer mutual support of one another so everyone can lead a healthier lifestyle. Even those who are very advanced with their alcohol treatment attend AA meetings to keep their sobriety on track. If you would like more information on how to begin your recovery, please contact Florida Recovery Group at 561.330.4688.

12 Steps of AA