12 Steps and 12 Traditions. The Program that Makes Long-Term Recovery Possible

Accountability, responsibility, goals, and achievement. Life at Mare’s House is filled with challenge and growth, decisions and consequences. In order to help our residents’ gain the skills and agency required for long-term sobriety and independence, our program is built to address the whole person. From jobs skills training to financial literacy to guidance for a healthy diet and exercise, our program is comprehensive. And while all of these elements are critical, one of our most important requirements relates to directly to sobriety maintenance, and that is active participation in a 12 Step program and regular communication with a sponsor. 

12 Steps and 12 Traditions is the book outlining the 24 basic principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. The book was written in 1953 by AA co-founder, William Griffith Wilson, or, as he is more commonly known within the AA community, Bill W. Today’s Anonymous programs address many forms addiction beyond alcohol – from narcotics to gambling to food to the Internet and technology, but all of them follow the basic tenets that can be found in this book and have been guiding addicts through recovery since the program was first developed in 1935.

Woman laughing together

12 Steps and 12 Traditions (The Big Book)

The 12 Steps As Presented by Alcoholics Anonymous

  1. To admit one’s powerlessness over the substance in question.
  2. To acknowledge that there is a power greater than one’s self that can help.
  3. To make the decision to turn over one’s life and decisions to that higher power.
  4. To make “a searching and fearless moral inventory” of one’s self. 
  5. To admit to one’s higher power and to another individual the nature of one’s wrongdoing. 
  6. To be ready to allow the higher power to “remove all these defects of character.”
  7. With humility, to ask the higher power to work in one’s life to remove the shortcomings.
  8. To identify the individuals one has harmed and be willing to make amends.
  9. To make amends to people one has harmed without doing more harm in the process.
  10. To review one’s behavior on a regular basis and quickly admit wrongdoing.
  11. To make a continual effort to connect with one’s higher power and be open to the guidance found therein. 
  12.  To help other’s in recovery and to apply the 12 steps to all areas of one’s life.

Women's Group Therapy
The 12 Traditions As Presented by Alcoholics Anonymous

The 12 Traditions of anonymous programs concern the management of anonymous groups and how each should be operated and interact with one another and larger society.

  1. In order to create an organization that lasts into the future, the welfare of the group is prioritized, followed by the welfare of the individual. 
  2. The higher power, which is a loving god, is the ultimate authority and leaders within the group are servants to that power.
  3. The one requirement for membership is a sincere desire to stop the addictive behavior in question.
  4. Each individual group is autonomous.
  5. The main purpose of the groups is to promote the message to addicts who have not yet entered recovery.
  6. AA groups are not permitted to finance, endorse or otherwise lend their name to other enterprises so as to avoid detracting from AA’s mission.
  7. Individual AA groups must be self-supported and not receive outside funding.
  8. AA is a non-professional organization.
  9. AA is not an organization but may have committees or boards to facilitate operations that are responsible to membership.
  10. AA does not hold opinions on public issues and is not controversial.
  11. AA members retain personal anonymity when it comes to public relations efforts.
  12. “Principles before personalities.” AA is an anonymous organization.  

A Program that has Helped Addicts in Recovery for Decades

According to an analysis conducted by the Stanford School of Medicine, Alcoholics Anonymous is almost always more effective than therapy in helping people achieve lasting sobriety. The communal support of a group of people who’ve “been there” cannot be equaled in helping people abstain over the long term. The help of a sponsor, combined with the 12 Steps is so powerful, it has been proven effective regardless of age, gender or social status.

As many members of our own team have struggled with addictions and have relied on the 12 Step program to help us maintain our recovery, we believe in its ability to change lives and we believe no recovery program is complete without it.