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Alcoholics Anonymous Step 12

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Many individuals have sought out treatment and programs to overcome alcohol misuse and achieve long-term sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-Step program where the primary purpose is to help one solve their drinking problem.1

Each of the 12-Steps builds upon the other and has distinct principles and actions contained within. It is important that these steps be followed in full to achieve success in overcoming alcohol abuse and addiction. In this article, we will examine the culminating step of the program, Step 12.

Before we examine the final step of Alcoholics Anonymous, the preceding 11 steps are summarized as follows:2

  • Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable.”
  • Step 2: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
  • Step 3: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
  • Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
  • Step 5: “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
  • Step 6: “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
  • Step 7: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
  • Step 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
  • Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
  • Step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
  • Step 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.”

In this article, we will discuss what Step 12 is, how to start and work Step 12, how to follow Step 12, the myths and misunderstandings about Step 12, and how we can find help with Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Step 12.

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous Step 12?

Step 12 is the last step identified in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program. This step states, “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.”2 This step involves actions that you must not only carry out for yourself but that you also do with others.

At the end of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program, you take everything you learned in steps 1–11 and assist other fellow alcoholics who are still troubled by alcohol misuse.

In this step, you turn outward to fellow alcoholics and assist them in various ways. You will share your journey to sobriety, give them practical ways to help themselves, and encourage them to take the 12-Step journey.

One of the key themes of Step 12 is the joy of living, and the major keyword of the step is action.2 Now that you have found a new way of living in your sobriety, you will share the joyful feeling you now have.

Step 12 involves action. You must actively seek to connect with alcoholics and show them the way in which you overcame alcohol abuse. The methods in which you share your journey may be different from others, but the overall goal is for you to show them that there is a healthier, happier way to live.

As a result of practicing all the steps, including Step 12, many members have found a spiritual awakening. In Step 12, a spiritual awakening is described as when an individual is now able to feel, do, and believe that which they could not previously do before their unaided strength and resources alone.2 People who have this type of awakening are presented with a newly found consciousness and being.

How to Start and Work Step 12

Step 12 involves several interactive steps. Each of these elements can be completed either in a group or individual setting. These steps include:2

  • Speak during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
  • Speak face-to-face with others who are struggling with AUD.
  • Volunteer at the meetings (e.g., arrange the refreshments).
  • Continue to practice all 12-Steps daily.

How to Follow Step 12

Step 12 is comprised of actions that one must follow closely in order to be successful. One way AA members can go about following Step 12 is by avoiding becoming discouraged, especially in cases of when a fellow AA member relapses.2 We should instead take this issue in stride and turn it into demonstrations of faith through our higher power.2

Another way to adhere to and follow Step 12 is to avoid “two-stepping” and embrace “twelve-stepping.” Two-stepping involves only working a couple steps, Step 1 and Step 12 for instance, and feeling as though we have successfully completed the entire program.2

To follow through with Step 12 completely, all of the steps must be completed. Participants can lean on the AA prayer as well. This prayer states, “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Myths and Misunderstandings about AA Step 12

One of the biggest misunderstandings of Step 12 is that all of the hard work is over. This is not true, however. For most individuals, the AA program is a lifelong commitment to maintain long-term sobriety. Another myth about Step 12 is that members are fully recovered once they complete all 12 steps. Again, most members will incorporate 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous into their aftercare programs, and rely on them for strength and support for years, or a lifetime.

How to Find Help with Alcoholics Anonymous Step 12

Step 12 is a crucial step in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. In this step, we reach outside to fellow alcoholics and assist them on their journey. After having become spiritually awakened, we are able to share the joys that we now feel.

Recovery is a difficult process, and that’s where AA steps in to help. You can locate AA meetings online; meetings are available across the country. If you are traveling or away from home, you can rest assured that you will be able to find a meeting near you.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help you if you are struggling with alcohol addiction. AAC offers treatment programs across the country where you can take advantage of all the benefits that addiction treatment has to offer.

Locate alcohol rehab centers using our online directory. You can also instantly verify your insurance coverage. Call to speak with an admissions navigator who can help answer any questions you may have about treatment.

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Senior Web Content Editor
Jennifer Fifield is a Senior Web Content Editor at American Addiction Centers and an addiction content expert for drugabuse.com and recovery.org. She holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and a master’s degree in Health Promotion Management. Jennifer has served as a content editor on numerous articles, web pages, and blog posts within the medical, dental, and vision industry. She has 15+ years of experience in higher education including writing/editing, administrative, and teaching positions within the health/wellness, accreditation, and health communications areas.
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