The 12 steps of recovery are a set of guiding principles that help individuals struggling with addiction to overcome their addiction and maintain sobriety. The steps were originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and have since been adapted by other addiction recovery programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA).
Here are the 12 steps:
- Admit that you are powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable.
- Believe that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity.
- Make a decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of a higher power as you understand it.
- Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.
- Admit to a higher power, to yourself, and to another human being the exact nature of your wrongs.
- Be entirely ready to have a higher power remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly ask your higher power to remove your shortcomings.
- Make a list of all persons you have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.
- Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continue to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admit it.
- Seek through prayer and meditation to improve your conscious contact with a higher power, as you understand it, praying only for knowledge of its will for you and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, try to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all your affairs.
Working the steps involves being honest with yourself and others, admitting to past mistakes, seeking forgiveness, making amends, and continuing to strive towards a better life. It is important to have a support system and to attend meetings regularly to help maintain sobriety.