RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail
who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover
are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves
to this simple program, usually men and women who are
constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.
There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem
to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of
grasping and developing a manner of living which demands
rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There
are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental
disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the
capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a
general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what
we are like now. If you have decided that you want what we
have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you
are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We
thought that we could find an easier, softer way. But we could
not. With all earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be
fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have
tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until
we let go absolutely.
Remember that we deal with
alcohol - cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too
much for us. But there is One who has all power - that One is
God. May you find him now.
Half measures availed us
nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His
protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took,
which are suggested as a program of recovery:
1. We admitted we were
powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become
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
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
6. Were entirely ready to have
God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove
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
Many of us exclaimed,
"What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not
be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain
anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are
not saints. The point is, that we were willing to grow along
spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to
progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual
Our description of the
alcoholic, the chapter of the agnostic, and our personal
adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and
could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.
with permission of The A.A. Grapevine, Inc.
owned by a Friend
of Bill W.