Understanding the 12 Steps

Understanding the 12 Steps

The Significance and Cultural Impact of The 12 Steps

As an American in today’s culture, you are most likely aware that we have a major drug problem. But for those who are somehow uninformed, we as a nation have a serious addiction issue that has reached epidemic proportions. What’s worse, our youth and young adults are the most addicted demographics whose addictive issues are getting worse by the day.

Top-tier Residential treatment programs, like that of At The Crossroads, are also aware of America’s addiction issues. Namely, we are aware of the addicted young men and women who are in need of intensive therapeutic drug and alcohol rehabilitation. And, like most of the most effective treatment programs available in the United States, At The Crossroads implements a comprehensive treatment program based on the highly reputable tutelage and traditions of the ’12 steps.’

Get to Know The 12 Steps

If you are like most of Americans, you are almost certainly familiar with the term "12-Steps," AKA the most relevant and widely used recovery philosophy among drug and alcohol treatment programs nationwide. Although you may think you know all there is to know about the 12 Steps, the following article will refresh your knowledge, and perhaps even teach you a thing or two more about what is widely considered to be the most effective and successful way of rehabilitating addictive behaviors.

Essentially, the 12 step program is a set of twelve guiding principles that are designed to assist addicted people who suffer from serious - often times even life-threatening - addictions, in overcoming their addictive behavior and furthermore, in eliminating the behaviors that led to addiction.

Additionally, the 12-Steps act as 'spiritual principles' which outline the course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems.

The History of “The Steps”

Initially created to rehabilitate those suffering from alcoholism, Bill Wilson created the 12 steps as the foundational building blocks of Alcoholics Anonymous, which he also created in 1935. During the ‘Great Depression, ’ Bill Wilson – a recovering alcoholic in his own right – saw America’s epidemic of alcoholism and decided to create his own detox and drug rehab center in Manhattan where he first used his 12 steps to treat and rehabilitate alcoholics.

According to Bill, “I founded the organization after discovering my Higher Power.” Wilson said he “had no formal medical or psychology training; instead, the 12 steps were created by combining ideas from philosophy and religion.”

The Widespread Usage and Implementation of the Twelve Steps

Soon the effectiveness of Bill’s 12 Step program grew in notoriety, thus inspiring cities and group therapy meetings all over the country to adopt their own version of Alcoholics Anonymous. Of course, it wasn’t long before people from all over the world developed their own 12 Steps programs. Within the next following decades, Bill’s 12 Steps were adopted by rehabs, residential treatment centers, and even spawned like-minded groups like Narcotics Anonymous, or NA – which is essentially an AA for drug addicts.

Here Are The Steps As Bill Wilson Created Them:

(It should be noted that since their creation in 1935, none of the 12 Steps have been added to or changed, whatsoever)

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.