Addiction Services Blog

The 12 Steps of AA, Breakdown Of Each Step!

Getting sober is not only possible – it’s guaranteed as a result of working the 12 steps of AA and engaging in the recovery process. Now don’t get me wrong, no one said it’s going to be easy, but it is 100% doable for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a young heroin addict from New Jersey or an older alcoholic from California – you’re going to stay sober if you go to treatment, work the steps, and live a life based on moral principles.One thing we’ve learned here at Sober Services is that the 12 steps of AA are often overwhelming and frightening. We wanted to change this and make it easier for you to get sober, so we created a detailed breakdown of the aa steps. Read on to learn just what each one of these steps is really about!

The 12 Steps of AA

Step 1: We Admitted We Were Powerless Over Our Addiction- That Our Lives Had Become Unmanageable


The first step of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is that we basically admit we have a problem with drugs or alcohol. We admit that our lives have become a mess due to our addiction. We admit we’ve created the issues that arise from our addiction.In this step, we admit we need help. The key words here are powerless and unmanageable.Powerless means that once we pick up drugs or alcohol, we’re unable to control ourselves. We’re powerless over picking up the substance again.Unmanageable means that once we pick up drugs or alcohol, we lose things in our lives. This includes our homes, our family’s trust, our careers, our education, and countless other things. We don’t have to lose everything for our lives to become unmanageable, just enough so that we can’t live a normal, effective life.The next stop on our exploration of the twelve steps simplified is…you guessed it! Step two!

aa steps can be challenging and you need support from loved ones


Step 2: Came To Believe That A Power Greater Than Ourselves Could Restore Us To Sanity


The second step is when we came to believe, which is past tense. It doesn’t mean that you have to believe in a power greater than yourself right away. Spirituality is a process that takes time. Your spiritual connection is ever changing and developing.This is a step about hope, faith, and, ultimately, realization. Basically, we have to give up control. We’re extremely controlling as addicts, meaning we believe we run the show. In this step, we’re beginning to relinquish that control.This is the first step of the lifelong process towards stepping outside of yourself. The term God doesn’t mean that you need to be religious. You can be agnostic, atheist, or a former believer. The most important factor is having an open mind.This is true for not only the second step but for all the steps and long-term sobriety.

Step 3: Made A Decision To Turn Our Will And Our Lives Over To The Care Of God As We Understood Him


The third step is a decision to go on with the rest of the work. It’s exactly that simple!The third step is when you decide to continue taking action and finishing steps four through twelve. Maybe right now you don’t believe. It’s okay to not believe when you’re at the third step!Basically, you’re agreeing to see what the rest of the steps are all about and eventually agreeing that something else will take care of you. This step is a call to action.We couldn’t explain the 12 steps of AA without taking a fearless look at the fourth step.

Step 4: Made A Searching And Fearless Moral Inventory Of Ourselves


The big, bad fourth step is only as bad as we make it. The purpose of this step is to remove all the stuff inside you that keeps you from connecting with your fellow man, woman, and Higher Power.You probably did some scummy things in active addiction. It’s totally okay, we all did! In the fourth step, we write out our resentments, fears, harms to others, and sexual inventory in order to find out who we really are.This doesn’t have to take six months! It can take a day! You don’t need to write everything you’ve ever done – it’s okay if you forget some things. This step is about understanding what makes you tick and it’s quite all right to have done some things that you can’t recall at this point in time.If you have a resentment, fear, or sexual story you forgot, your sponsor is going to be okay with you calling and discussing this with them at a later time.

Step 5: Admitted To God, To Ourselves And To Another Human Being The Exact Nature Of Our Wrongs


In the fifth step, you sit down with your sponsor to read your fourth step. You read your resentments, fears, harms done to others, and sexual inventories to your sponsor and God or Higher Power.It might seem scary, embarrassing, and overwhelming to admit these things to another human being and God. However, God will forgive you and your sponsor can probably relate to most of your list.Your sponsor also identifies patterns of behavior in this step. They help you understand that you behave similarly.

Step 6: Were Entirely Ready To Have God Remove All These Defects Of Character


Continuing our breakdown of the 12 steps of AA, the sixth step is an often overlooked part of recovery literature. It only has a single paragraph in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Still, it’s very important to understand what your character defects are.Your sponsor usually tells you what they are based on your fifth step. This step is when you start to understand your defects and become ready to work on them. It doesn’t mean that you have to remove them all at once – like most of recovery, it’s a process.

Step 7: Humbly Asked God To Remove Our Shortcomings


The seventh step is also overlooked in recovery literature. In fact, when explaining the twelve steps, step seven often isn’t mentioned at all. It only gets another single paragraph in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.The sixth step is when you begin to access your Higher Power to help remove your character defects. Through removing your defects, you’ll also begin to remove your sources of temptation and addiction. For many people who are struggling more than others, god has entrusted this duty to many inpatient drug rehabs across the country.

Step 8: Made A List Of All Persons We Had Harmed, And Became Willing To Make Amends To Them All


For the eighth step, you’ll take your resentments and harms you have done to others from your fourth step and make a list based on those. In this step, we’re putting into action the resentments written in step four. Although we were resentful, we begin to realize our part and how we’ve harmed others through our active addiction.

Step 9: Made Direct Amends To Such People Wherever Possible, Except When To Do So Would Injure Them Or Others


The next part of the 12 steps of AA simplified is taking a look at step nine. This completes what was started in step eight. In this step, you’re going out and making amends. The main purpose of the ninth step isn’t just saying sorry, but representing changed behavior.It’s also very important to refrain from making amends to someone if you’ll harm them by doing so. This means you can’t just make an amends to selfishly get something off your conscience when telling that person is hurtful.We should make amends when the opportunity presents itself. It’s not necessary to make all your amends before going on to step ten. The amends process could take a bit of time, but it’s okay! Through living a better life, a sober life, you’ll be able to finish your amends in time.It’s important to remember we should never fail to contact someone if we’re embarrassed. The ninth step is about selflessness and mending relationships.

Step 10: Continued To Take Personal Inventory And When We Were Wrong Promptly Admitted It


Step ten is called a growth step. In this step, we write an inventory or discuss with another person how we were fearful, selfish, dishonest, or resentful throughout our day.If we harmed another person, we make an amends at once. The tenth step is important because we look at ourselves critically and are able to admit where we were wrong right away.

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


If step ten is about making sure we’re staying on the right path, then step eleven is about making sure we stay on that path through prayer and meditation to a God or Higher Power of our understanding.In meditation, we listen to God and in prayer, we talk. It’s important to do this every day since it helps us stay grounded and focused on living in the light of the spirit.

Step 12: Having Had A Spiritual Awakening As The Result Of These Steps, We Tried To Carry This Message To Other Alcoholics, And To Practice These Principles In All Our Affairs


The twelfth step ensures that by going through the steps, we’ll have had a spiritual experience. This doesn’t have to be a burning bush or white light experience. It’s simply an understanding that we’ve changed and are willing to continue to grow as members of a twelve-step program.It’s important to carry the message to others through sponsorship and service. Sponsorship is taking another alcoholic or addict through the twelve steps. Service is participating in a homegroup and helping others when you get the chance.Practicing these principals in all our affairs means that we continue to work steps ten, eleven, and twelve on the daily. It means we go through the steps again when we feel we need to and that we continue to grow and mature emotionally as people.And that concludes our breakdown of the 12 steps of AA. Pretty simple, right?

Where Can You Get Help?


People have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body around the world through these steps. In order to truly understand the power of the 12 steps of AA, you need to be in a clear, sober state of mind.Sober Services can help you enter a facility that educates you about sobriety and brings in meetings or transports you to outside meetings. Call us now at (877) 212-5798 or visit our website at and one of our trained representatives will help you take the next step towards the rest of your life!

Setting Goals Can Help Keep You Going on Dark Days
Wes Bentley in Recovery From Heroin

We are a group of dedicated professionals whose only goal is to help you.We are a vast knowledge base of information on addiction, recovery, and relapse and the devastating ripple effect it can have on your world.

  • 18881 von karmen Irvine
    California, United states.
  • Call Us Now

    (888) 477-5453

  • Send Mail Us

Latest Blogs

By:  AG's Mom aka Aaron's Mom (NYC unspoken Poet) I lost Aaron April 2010 to an accidental overdose. My 33 year old addict daughter cam...
Faith will get me thru it...In the end, that's all I have.  My faith will help me sustain all my challenges.  When fear, anxiety try to surf...