Twelve Step programs are well known for their use in recovering from addictive
and dysfunctional behaviors. The first 12 step program began with
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)
in the 1930s and has since grown to be the most widely used approach in
dealing not only with recovery from alcoholism, but also from drug abuse and
various other addictive and dysfunctional behaviors.
The first book written to cover the 12 step program was titled
"Alcoholics Anonymous", affectionately known as the
Big Book by program members.
Following the subsequent extensive growth of twelve step programs for
other addictive and dysfunctional behaviors, many additional books were
written and recordings and videos were produced. These cover the steps
in greater detail and how people have specifically applied the steps in
their lives. An extensive chronology and background about the history of
A.A. has been put together at
Dick B.'s website.
The twelve steps of the program are listed above and
on the steps page in generic form.
Other groups who have adopted the 12 steps to address their own
particular addictive or dysfunctional behavior have
similar ideas, usually with only minor variations.
These steps are meant to be worked sequentially as a process of
getting rid of addictive behaviors and should result in a
growth in freedom and happiness, as outlined in
the Promises. The general governing
approach for A.A. groups was originally laid out in the
Twelve Traditions, and they
remain the guiding principles for most 12 step groups today.