What is the 12-Step Model?

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The 12-Step model is a program of recovery designed to help individuals suffering from addiction attain long-lasting, contented sobriety. It is a spiritual program, but it can be adapted to fit the needs of people of all faiths or no faith at all.

The 12 Steps were originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s, and they have been used to help people recover from a wide range of addictions since then, including drug addiction, sex addiction, gambling addiction, and food addiction.

The 12 Steps are a set of guidelines that help people to understand their addiction, admit their powerlessness over it, and develop a new way of living. The steps involve developing a relationship with a higher power, making amends to those who have been harmed by the addiction, and helping others who are still struggling.

Examples from Alcoholics Anonymous

Here are some examples of how the 12 Steps are used in Alcoholics Anonymous:

  • Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

AA members admit that they cannot control their drinking and that their lives have become unmanageable as a result. This is a difficult step to take, but it is essential for recovery.

  • Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

AA members develop a relationship with a higher power, which can be anything that they believe in, such as God, nature, the universe, or even the group of AA members themselves. This higher power is seen as a source of strength and guidance.

  • Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

AA members surrender their will to their higher power and ask for guidance in their recovery. This is a step of faith and trust.

  • Step 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.

AA members who have successfully worked through the 12 Steps often feel a sense of spiritual awakening. They are grateful for the recovery that they have found, and they want to help others find the same.

Examples from Other 12-Step Groups

The 12 Steps have been adapted to fit the needs of people recovering from a wide range of addictions. Here are some examples from other 12-step groups:

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA): NA is a fellowship for men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. NA members use the 12 Steps to recover from addiction to all types of drugs, including alcohol.
  • Overeaters Anonymous (OA): OA is a fellowship for people who struggle with compulsive overeating. OA members use the 12 Steps to recover from their addiction to food and to develop a healthy relationship with eating.
  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA): GA is a fellowship for compulsive gamblers. GA members use the 12 Steps to recover from their addiction to gambling and to rebuild their lives.


The 12-Step model is a powerful tool for recovery from addiction. It has helped millions of people to find sobriety and to live happy and productive lives. The 12 Steps are based on the principle that addiction is a disease that can be treated, and that people can recover from addiction with the support of others.

If you are struggling with addiction, the 12-Step model may be a good option for you. There are 12-step groups available for people recovering from all types of addictions, and they can be a great source of support and guidance.