The Twelve Steps For Christians
A Path For Recovery
The 12-Step program is the path to recovery for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It has been adapted in many forms to help people who have been addicted to some substance or behavior.
Bill W. who determined that most alcoholics would listen to a recovered alcoholic before they would seek out help from medical or spiritual advisers or counselor formulated the 12 steps. “It takes one to know one”. AA then began as a personal one-on-one program to help those seeking recovery.
The mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches have long been supportive of AA proving meeting rooms and other support. Unfortunately many fundamentalist and ultra-conservative churches have dismissed 12-Step programs because they are not ‘religious’ enough and do not mention Jesus in its steps or literature.
The 12-Step program developed from principles of the Oxford Group1, a conservative Christian self-study and self-help movement within the church. The Oxford Group had high standards of Christian behavior and relied on the Sermon On The Mount as a ‘text book’ of doctrine.
Bill W. and the other leaders of the new AA program decided that many people shied away from their meetings because they were too fundamentalist, and the last thing a person in crisis wanted was to become involved in a extremely religious program. Furthermore the Oxford Group was ultra-conservative Christian in its views. Because of that many people with other religious persuasions (Catholics, Jews, and non-conservative Christians) would not associate with their group. It was decided to tone down the message in order to make the program so it would not be offensive make it easier to recruit members from any background.
As a result the final version of the 12-Step program became universal in its appeal, even though it mentions a “Higher Power” and God 6 times. It is an astonishing that the Steps are accepted by even the most ardent ‘skeptics’ of religious faith, even though the Steps require that one ‘turn our life and will over to the care of God”, admit and confess sins, pray to God, and follow the path to spiritual growth leading to a ‘spiritual awakening’!
Untold numbers of people have been freed from their addictions and sinful behavior and became believers by faith in God through the Steps. The Steps are recognized worldwide for its success as a recovery and faith based program. What more could anyone ask and how can anyone criticize such a successful program of a recovery?
Step 1. ADMISSION
We admitted that we are powerless over sin2 - that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2. BELIEF
We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to wholeness.
Step 3. SUBMISSION
We made a decision to turn our life and will over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
Step 4. MORAL INVENTORY
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5. CONFESSION
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6. WILLINGNESS
We became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7. PRAYER
We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8. PERSONAL INVENTORY
We made a list of all the people we had hurt, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9. AMENDS.
We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.
Step 10. PERSONAL GROWTH
We continued to take personal inventory and promptly admitted our mistakes when we were wrong.
Step 11. SPIRITUAL GROWTH
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will and the strength to carry it out.
Step 12. SERVICE TO OTHERS
Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Step 1 ‘sin’ is substituted for ‘alcohol’ in
the AA version. Sin is defined as 'falling
short' of God's standard.
The result of sin is separation from God. See the article: Word
Studies In The NT: SIN
(3) A definition of addiction: "Addiction is giving
ourselves over to things that, in our deepest honesty, we really do not
want. It is a process of attachment which 'nails' our desire to
specific objects, with the result that our will and desire become
enslaved. Addiction breeds willfulness within us, yet paradoxically it
erodes our free will and eats away at our dignity." ( Dr.