12 vs 16 Steps for Recovery

12 vs 16 Steps for Recovery

12 Steps

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  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.
  12. 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.

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc, New York City, 1976


16 Steps

  1. We affirm we have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.
  2. We come to believe that God / Goddess / Universe / Great Spirit / Higher Power awakens the healing wisdom within us when we open ourselves to that power.
  3. We make a decision to become our authentic selves and trust in the healing power of the truth.
  4. We examine our beliefs, addictions, and dependent behaviour in the context of living in a hierarchical, patriarchal culture.
  5. We share with another person and the Universe all those things inside of us for which we feel shame and guilt.
  6. We affirm and enjoy our intelligence, strengths and creativity, remembering not to hide these qualities from ourselves and others.
  7. We become willing to let go of shame, guilt and any Behavior that keeps us from loving ourselves and others.
  8. We make a list of people we have harmed and people who have harmed us, and take steps to clear out negative energy by making amends and sharing our grievances in a respectful way.
  9. We express love and gratitude to others and increasingly appreciate the wonders of life and the blessings we do have.
  10. We learn to trust our reality and daily affirm that we see what we see, we know what we know, and we feel what we feel.
  11. We promptly admit to mistakes and make amends when appropriate, but we do not say we are sorry for things we have not done, and we do not cover up, analyze, or take responsibility for the shortcomings of others.
  12. We seek out situations, jobs, and people that affirm our intelligence, perceptions, and self-worth and avoid situations or people who are hurtful, harmful, or demeaning to us.
  13. We take steps to heal our physical bodies, organize our lives, reduce stress, and have fun.
  14. We seek to find our inward calling, and develop the will and wisdom to follow it.
  15. We accept the ups and downs of life as natural events that can be used as lessons for our growth.
  16. We grow in awareness that we are sacred beings, interrelated with all living things, and we contribute to restoring peace and balance on the planet.

Charlotte Kasl, Many Roads, One Journey, 1991

[ printable PDF version ]

My office is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I provide therapy and counselling services for the Greater Vancouver area including Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.