The Twelve Steps For Christians

A Path For Recovery

Compiled By Theologue

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?

The 12 Steps For Christians


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.


We made a decision to turn our life and will over to the care of God, as we understood Him.


We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


We became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7. PRAYER   

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.


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.


We continued to take personal inventory and promptly admitted our mistakes when we were wrong.


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.


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.


(1)  “Calling itself A First Century Christian Fellowship, the Oxford Group sought fellowship with God and one another as a team meeting in fellowship, working in groups, and sharing their experiences with others”. (The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous by Dick B.). Their stated standards were “Absolute Honesty, Absolute Purity, Absolute Unselfishness, Absolute Love”.

(2)  In 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. Gerald May)