SAMHSA’s National Helpline phone 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Twelve Steps and Twelve TraditionsTwelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is a 1953 book, which explains the principles of the world-famous program to overcome alcoholism. Written while Bill W, the book has been translated into many languages and is widely distributed, helping to fight it everywhere since alcoholism does not recognize state borders.

Anyone who would like to get acquainted with the essence of the Program should read this book. The authors of the book relied on the vast experience gained by A.A. over many decades.

The Twelve Steps of A.A. are a set of fundamentally spiritual principles that allow the patient to fight the addiction to alcohol and become a happy and helpful person.

The Twelve Traditions show how A.A. maintains its unity and builds its relations with the outside world, how it lives and develops.

Although the suggested essays were written for A.A. members, many A.A. friends think they can arouse the interest of a wider audience of readers and find application outside of A.A.

12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (short form)

The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—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 Him;
  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 Him 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 Him, praying only for knowledge of His 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 alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous (short form)

The following are the original twelve traditions as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity;
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern;
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking;
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole;
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers;
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose;
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions;
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers;
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve;
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy;
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films;
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.