Introduction to the 12 Steps of AA

With years of success and adoption, the 12-step model to addiction recovery is a commonly followed process throughout alcohol rehab.

Underpinned by the values and intentions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step programme outlines the essential commitments and actions for abstinence.

Continue reading this page to find out more, or alternatively get in touch with our team today.

What Is The 12-Step Approach?

The 12-step approach dates back to 1938, developed as a part of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The initial concept prioritised peer support and the value of a safe space to share, motivate and inspire. Also underpinned by religious and spiritual beliefs, each of the 12 steps were designed with the idea that a higher power is present, to forgive, learn and change.

To this date, similar messages are carried through the 12-step approach, with a focus on helping others and on intentional recovery. Yet as alcoholism is a non-biased condition, impacting people from all walks of life, messages have been adapted to resonate with all religions and outlooks.

The 12-step programme moves to recover addicts through 12 intentions and commitments, with the power to overcome and devalue future alcohol exposure. The aim is to remain accountable to oneself and to peers, whilst leading a sober life.

The principle behind an AA 12-step programme is also used across many other addiction recovery journeys. For example, the 12-step model is also incorporated into Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. The themes of fellowship, accountability, and the power to recover runs through each group,

Recommended for people who suffer from addictions and compulsions, the 12-step programme provides a comprehensive recovery process yet broken down into 12 achievable goals.

Whilst its origins incorporated religious and spiritual concepts, the 12-step model has adapted to cater to all backgrounds and belief systems. A higher power is still tapped into, in order to recover and remain sober. Yet for most people, the community feel, the safe space and the progress of the 12 steps offer an effective and proactive recovery journey.

Possible to complete as a primary treatment option, or alongside further addiction treatment services, a 12-step programme is motivating and progressive. Also supportive throughout long-term recovery, the 12 steps offer guidance, are found to improve mental health, and deliver a sustainable plan of action to follow.

What Are The 12 Steps?

The original 12-step model can be found below, with prominence on faith-based commitments and milestones. Each step has since been adapted to promote mutual understanding, benefits and use for all recovering addicts and their loved ones.

Intentions such as self-awareness, peer support and forgiveness are still followed. Yet with less of a religious theme, holistic and widespread effects are instead delivered.

  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 ask 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 on.
  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.

How The 12 Steps Work

The 12-steps work by offering both recovering addicts and their loved ones a route towards recovery. They individually embody the need to accept help, make some changes and commit to long-term recovery.

Helping to motivate clients, helping to provide a sense of community, helping to inspire change, and helping to offer structure, the 12 steps are incorporated into various treatments, therapies, and meetings. Delivered mostly through group therapy, experiences, feedback, and support can be shared across all participants.

The 12-step model is unbiased, by stripping back addiction to its true diagnosis. Alcoholism can impact addicts in many different ways, yet the consensus is that it is unruly and disruptive. Meetings accept people from all walks of life, with different experiences, by offering a non-judgmental way to overcome and devalue the presence of alcohol.

Education and awareness are key themes across a 12-step programme. Education is offered to increase understanding and control over future alcohol exposure. Awareness is promoted by practising mindfulness and by connecting the dots of recovery.

There are many benefits that can be experienced through a 12-step programme. Meetings are free, can be experienced through rehab or through support groups, and provide a strong support network. The 12-steps are also found to improve mental health, motivation, and the desire to change, by offering small yet adoptable milestones.

The Evolution Of The 12 Steps

Whilst there is a general consensus around the severity and impacts of alcoholism, recovery processes, responses and goals are very different across our clients here at Asana Lodge. With that, the 12 steps have evolved to offer a widespread source of support and direction.

The faith-based approach to addiction recovery still remains for those who seek relief and support through prayer and meditation. Those who believe in a higher power will still benefit from the programme. Yet those who do not follow any particular religion or outlook will also benefit from the 12-step structure.

For our clients to benefit from the programme, each step must be resonating. With that, the philosophy remains, yet with a different role to play for each client. Instead, following a holistic model, the 12 steps offer overall success.

12 Steps Within Alcohol Rehab

The 12-step model can be experienced through AA meetings, aftercare services or can also be worked through throughout alcohol rehab. Working alongside additional treatments and tools, the 12 steps help to commit and direct clients through the rehabilitation process.

For example, self-awareness and recognition must be present to accept rehab and to work through the admissions process. The intention to remove alcohol and its influences must be found through detoxification. Forgiveness and accountability must be present in order to work through the deep-rooted emotions and attachments to alcohol exposure.

Planning, self-value and the ability to learn must be present in order to sustain sobriety. All commitments can be made through the model and can be acted upon through alcohol rehab treatments.

At Asana Lodge, we promote the principles of AA and its 12-step programme throughout alcohol rehab.

Long Term Recovery

To recover for the long term from alcoholism, new commitments must be made. Personal commitments will differ between our clients, yet all will support sober living.

With longevity in mind, commitments will surround low alcohol exposure, a healthy and balanced lifestyle, the gift to inspire others, and the chance to live beyond an addiction diagnosis.

Paired with a completed inpatient treatment programme, aftercare and relapse prevention, a 12-step programme will provide the tools, education, and network to reach sobriety.

Find Alcohol Rehab Help

Finding alcohol rehab help is possible here at Asana Lodge. Offering inpatient treatment programmes, self-help guidance and aftercare services, a comprehensive recovery journey can be worked through. The 12-step model can be benefitted from whilst working through a personalised and holistic rehab programme.

Reach out for further insight into our rehab services, or to begin your admission process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How successful is Alcohol Rehab?

Alcohol rehab is an effective tool that helps alcoholics and those with compulsive problems get clean. The rehabilitation process isn’t a quick fix or a guarantee. It is instead a comprehensive process of learning, treatment, and management, providing the basis for sobriety.

Success rates can be high by working alongside a reputable alcohol rehab and by committing yourself to the process. Understandably, commitment levels and personal circumstances vary, differing the end result of alcohol rehabilitation.

For the average person, alcohol rehab is an instrumental step in the long-term recovery process. What you make of the tool will impact your success rates.

How long does rehab last?

Rehab programmes differ between treatment providers and centres. Depending on your selected treatment route, timelines also fluctuate.

At Asana Lodge, through an inpatient rehab programme, a 4-week timeline can be committed to. 12 months of aftercare, support and a 12-step programme will follow, to strengthen recovery.

Are there free options for Alcohol Addiction help?

Yes, free help can be accessed through Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, with a focus on the 12-step programme model. Regular meetings can be arranged and worked through, to slowly recover from alcoholism, without investing in private rehab.

Private rehab is however an affordable and viable option. Yet understandably isn’t for everyone.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 16 February 2022

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.