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What are the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?

January 1, 2013

Giving up, Cleaning up, Making up, and Keeping up

The 12 Steps are a therapy programme which can assist alcoholics and drug addicts to live a full and meaningful life without the use of drugs and alcohol.

  • Steps 1 to 3 are about accepting powerlessness and “Giving up” the alcohol and drugs.
  • Steps 4 to 7 are about searching your past and “Cleaning up” your life.
  • Steps 8 to 9 are about making amends and are called the “Making Up” Steps.
  • Steps 10 to 12 are about “Keeping Up” – staying sober and staying in recovery using the 12 Steps, and attending 12 Step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous.

A focus on abstinence, lifelong recovery and relapse prevention are hallmarks of the 12 Step programme.

Spirituality and the 12 Steps

The 12 Steps contain many of the facets of other talking therapies, although they stand out for their openness on the subject of spirituality. Considering that 80% of the British public believe in a God, spirit or life force – the 12 Steps are relevant for the vast majority of people, and they can also be very relevant and helpful for people who have no belief in a spirit, god or life force.

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