12 Step Program Overview

What is the 12 Step Program?

We all have the power to overcome. With the right plan, the right support system, and the conscious actionable steps, we are able to take back control from the holds of addiction and prosper in the next season of our lives. As with many things in life, planning is key to success. The 12 Step Program, used in Alcoholics Anonymous, is a proven method to successful, long-term recovery.


Step 1.

We admitted we were powerless over drugs/alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2.    

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3.    

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

Step 4.    

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5.    

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

Step 6.    

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

Step 7.    

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8.  

We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9.    

We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10. 

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

Step 11. 

We 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.

Step 12. 

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How does the 12 step program work?

The basis of the 12-step program is accountability. By understanding you have an addiction and want to work through it to better your life, you are taking the first step in becoming fully accountable for your life and the actions that have, and will, play out. The program acts as a backbone for your recovery, creating a plan that you move through to better understand yourself and your addiction.

Oftentimes, when beginning the program, you are entering into your first point of hope for your future. You are ridding yourself of past mistakes and moving forward into a new chapter of your life. Along with the personal journey that is involved, you are also gaining friendships with others who have experienced similar journeys. Accountability is then formed between you and others. These steps put you face-to-face with yourself and your decisions to put you back in control of your life.

How long does the 12 step program take?

This depends on the individual as well as the program. There are various AA programs that fit in the 12 steps within a planned time frame, most commonly between 60-90 days. You will most likely revisit the steps throughout your life journey, even after the formal programs have ended as they create a new foundation for your life.

Everyone’s recovery journey is unique. Using the 12-step program allows you to share your own personal experiences with others, become accountable for your life and actively make choices to better yourself and move past addiction. If you are in the throes of addiction now, or know someone who is, the 12 step program is the place to begin your new future addiction-free.

Baystate Recovery Center uses a clinically infused 12 step program approach to recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, please get in touch.