When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. and N.A. to always be there. And for that: I am responsible.

When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help,  
I want the hand of A.A. and N.A. to always be there.  
And for that: I am responsible.

This is our motto here,  Together we can help those who come to us for support and be there for family members alike.  Our goal is to not only listen, but to offer suggestions and ideas to cope on a daily basis with addictions by using the 12 steps and 12 traditions as taught by A.A and N.A. 

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
1 - We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2 - We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3 - We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
4 - We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5 - We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6 - We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7 - We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8 - We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9 - We made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
10 - We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11 - We 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 a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous
1 - We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2 - We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3 - We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
4 - We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5 - We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6 - We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7 - We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8 - We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9 - We made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
10 - We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11 - We 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 a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


About the 12 Step Program

Twelve Step programs are well known for use in recovery from addictive or dysfunctional behaviors. The first 12 step program began with Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) in the 1930s. The 12 Step approach has since grown to be the most widely used approach in dealing with not only alcoholism, but also drug abuse and various other addictive or 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, numerous books and other media were created to cover the steps in more detail and for different addictive and dysfunctional behaviors. 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 in generic form. Other groups who have adopted the 12 steps to address their own particular addictive or dysfunctional behavior have similar ideas with some variations. These steps are meant to be worked sequentially as a process of getting rid of addictive behaviors and growing in freedom and happiness, as laid out in the Twelve Promises. The general governing approach for A.A. groups was originally laid out in the Twelve Traditions, which remain the guiding principles still in use today.

There is a wealth of further information about 12 Step programs in the Wikipedia, including a list of 12 step groups, or from the over 300 links in our directory of recovery related websites.

About 12Step.org

The 12Step.org web site strives to gather and produce resources that make it easier to work a 12 step program. There is no official affiliation with A.A. or any other 12 Step group. Resources on this site for working a 12 step program include the following.



 @ http://www.12step.org/docs/BigBook.pdf

Chapter 3
MOST OF US have be en unwilling to admit we
were re al alcoholics. No person likes to think
he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows.
Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers
have been characte rized by countless vain attempts
to prove we could dr ink l ike othe r peopl e . The ide a
that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his
dr inking i s the gr e a t obs e s s ion of every abnorma l
drinker. The persistenc e of this illusion is astonishing.
Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
We lea rned that we had to fully concede to our innermost se lves that we were a lcoholics. This is the
first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like
other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
We alcoholics are men and women who have lost
the ability to control our drinking. We know that no
r e a l al cohol ic eve r re cove r s cont rol. Al l of us fe l t a t
times that we we re regaining control, but such intervals--usually brief--were inevitably followed by still
l e s s cont rol, whi ch l ed in t ime to pit i ful and incompr e -
hens ibl e demor a l iz a t ion. We a r e convinc ed to a man
that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progress ive il lne s s . Ove r any cons ide rabl e pe riod we ge t
worse, never better.
We a r e l ike men who have los t thei r legs ; they
never grow new ones. Neither does there appear to be
any kind of treatment which will make alcoholics of 

our kind like other men. We have tried eve ry imaginabl e remedy. In some ins t anc e s the re ha s be en bri e f
r e cove ry, fol lowed a lways by a s t i ll wor s e re l aps e .
Phys ic i ans who a r e fami li a r with a lcoholi sm agr e e
there is no such thing a making a normal drinke r out
of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this,
but it hasn't done so yet.
De spi t e a ll we c an s ay, many who a r e r e a l a l cohol ic s
are not going to believe they are in that class. By
eve ry form of s e lf -de c ept ion and expe riment a t ion, they
wi l l t ry to prove thems e lve s exc eptions to the rul e ,
therefore nona lcoholic. If anyone who is showing
inability to control his drinking can do the rightabout-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are
off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough
and long enough to dr ink l ike othe r peopl e !
Here are some of the methods we have tried: Drinking be e r only, limit ing the numbe r of dr inks , neve r
drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only a t home , neve r having it in the hous e , neve r
dr inking dur ing busine s s hour s, dr inking only a t
parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking
only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on
the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off
forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more
physical exerc ise, reading inspirational books, going
to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary
commitment to asylums--we could increase the list
ad infinitum.
We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcohol ic , but you c an qui ckly di agnos e your s e l f, St ep
ove r to the ne a r e s t ba rroom and t ry some control led
drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it 

mor e than onc e . I t wil l not t ake long for you to de -
c ide , if you a r e hone s t wi th yours e l f about it . I t may
be worth a bad ca se of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.
Though there is no way of proving it, we believe
that early in our drinking careers most of us could
have s topped dr inking. But the dif fi culty is tha t f ew
alcoholics have enough desire to stop while there is
yet time. We have heard of a few instances where
people, who showed definite signs of alcoholism, were
able to stop for a long period because of an overpowe r ing de s ir e to do so. He r e is one .
A man of thir ty wa s doing a gre a t de a l of spre e
dr inking. He wa s ve ry ne rvous in the morning a ft e r
the s e bout s and qui e t ed hims e l f wi th mor e l iquor . He
was ambitious to succeed in business, but saw that he
would get nowhere if he drank at all. Once he started,
he had no control whatever. He made up his mind
tha t unt il he had be en suc ce s s ful in bus ine s s and had
retired, he would not touch another drop. An exceptional man, he remained bone dry for twenty-five
ye a r s and r e t ir ed a t the age of f if ty- f ive , a ft e r a suc -
c e s s ful and happy bus ine s s c a r e e r. Then he f e ll vic -
t im to a be li e f whi ch pr a c t ic a l ly eve ry a l cohol ic ha s
--that his long period of sobriety and s elf-discipline
had qualified him to drink a s other men. Out came his
c a rpe t s lippe rs and a bot tl e . In two months he wa s
in a hospital, puzzled and humiliated. He tried to
regulate his drinking for a little while, making several trips
to the hospital meantime. Then, gathering all his
forces, he attempted to stop altogether and found he
could not . Eve ry means of solving his problem which 

money could buy was at his disposal. Every attempt
failed. Though a robust man at re tirement, he went
to pieces quickly and was dead within four years.
This case contains a powerful lesson. most of us
have believed that if we remained sober for a long
stretch, we could thereafter drink normally. But here
is a man who at fifty-five years found he was just
where he had left off at thirty. We have seen the truth
demonstrated again and again: "Onc e an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." Commencing to drink after a
pe r iod of sobri e ty, we a r e in a shor t t ime a s bad a s
ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must
be no r e s e rva t ion of any kind, nor any lurking notion tha t
someday we will be immune to alcohol.
Young people may be encouraged by this man's experience to think that they can stop, as he did, on
the ir own wi ll powe r . We doubt i f many of them c an
do it, because none will re ally want to stop, and hardly
one of them, because of the peculiar menta l twist already acquired, will find he can win out. Several of
our crowd, men of thirty or less, had been drinking
only a few years, but they found themselves as helpless as those who had been drinking twenty years.
To be gravely a ffected, one doe s not nec ess arily
have to dr ink a long t ime nor t ake the quanti t ie s
some of us have. This is particularly true of women.
Pot enti a l f ema le a l cohol ic s of ten turn into the r e a l
thing and are gone beyond recall in a few years.
Certain drinkers, who would be greatly insulted if
called alcoholics, are astonished at the ir inability to
s top. We , who a re f amil ia r wi th the symptoms , s e e
large numbers of potential alcoholics among young 

people everywhere. But try and get them to see it!*
As we look back, we feel we had gone on drinking
many years beyond the point where we could quit on
our wil l powe r . I f anyone que s t ions whe the r he ha s
entered this dangerous area, let him try leaving liquor
alone for one year. If he is a real alcoholic and very
far advanced, there is scant chanc e of succe ss. In the
e a r ly days of our drinking we oc c a s iona l ly r emained
sober for a year or more, becoming serious drinkers
again later. Though you may be able to stop for a cons ide rabl e pe riod, you may ye t be a potent ia l a lcoholi c .
We think f ew, to whom thi s book wil l appe a l , c an s t ay
dry anything like a ye a r . Some wi l l be drunk the day
after making their resolutions; most of them within a
few weeks.
For those who are unable to drink mode rately the
question is how to stop altogether. We are assuming,
of cour s e , tha t the r e ade r de s ir e s to s top. Whe the r
such a pe rson c an qui t upon a nonspi r itua l ba s i s de -
pends upon the extent to which he has already lost
the power to choose whe ther he will drink or not.
Many of us felt that we had plenty of character. There
was a tremendous urge to cea se forever. Yet we found
it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism
a s we know i t- - thi s utt e r inabi li ty to l e ave i t a lone,
no matter how great the nec essity or the wish.
How then shall we help our readers determine, to
their own satisfaction, whether they are one of us?
The experiment of quitting for a period of time will
be he lpful, but we think we c an r ende r an even gr ea t e r
service to alcoholic suffere rs and perhaps to the medi

c a l fr a t e rni ty. So we sha ll de s c ribe some of the menta l
states that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is the crux of the problem.
What sort of thinking dominates an alcoholic who
repeats time after time the desperate experiment of
the first drink? Friends who have re asoned with him
after a spree which has brought him to the point of
divorce or bankruptcy are mystified when he walks
directly into a saloon. Why does he? Of what is he
Our first example is a friend we shall call Jim. This
man has a charming wife and family. He inherited a
lucra tive automobile agency. He had a commendable
World War record. He is a good salesman. Everybody like s him. He i s an inte l ligent man, normal so fa r
as we can see, except for a ne rvous disposition. He did
no drinking until he was thirty-five. In a few years he
became so violent when intoxicated that he had to be
committed. On leaving the asylum he came into contact with us.
We told him what we knew of alcoholism and the
answer we had found. He made a beginning. His
family was re-assembled, and he began to work as a
salesman for the business he had lost through drinking. All went well for a time, but he failed to enlarge
his spiritual life. To his consternation, he found himself drunk half a dozen times in rapid succession. On
e a ch of the s e oc c a sions we worked wi th him, r eviewing c a r e ful ly wha t had happened. He agr e ed he wa s
a r e a l a l cohol ic and in a s e r ious condit ion. He knew
he faced another trip to the a sylum if he kept on.
Mor eove r , he would los e his f amily for whom he had
a deep affection. 

Yet he got drunk again. we asked him to tell us
exactly how it happened. This is his story: "I came to
work on Tuesday morning. I remembe r I f e lt i rr i ta t ed
tha t I had to be a sa l e sman for a conc e rn I onc e
owned. I had a few words with the brass, but nothing
serious. Then I decided to drive to the country and
see one of my prospec ts for a car. On the way I fe lt
hungry so I s topped a t a roads ide pl a c e wher e they
have a bar. I had no intention of drinking. I just
thought I would get a sandwich. I also had the notion
tha t I might find a cus tome r for a c a r a t thi s pla c e ,
which was familiar for I had been going to it for years.
I had e a ten ther e many t ime s during the months I wa s
sobe r . I s a t down a t a t able and orde red a s andwich
and a glass of milk. Still no thought of drinking. I
ordered another sandwich and decided to have
another glass of milk.
THE WHISKEY ON A FULL STOMACH. The experiment went
so well tha t I ordered another whiskey and poured it
into more milk. That didn't seem to bother me so I
tried another."
Thus started one more journey to the asylum for
Jim. Here was the threat of commitment, the loss of
family and position, to say nothing of that intense
mental and physical suffering which drinking always

Wha t eve r the pr e c is e de f ini tion of the word may be ,
we call this plain insanity. How can such a lack of
propor tion, of the abi li ty to think s t ra ight , be c a ll ed
anything e l s e ?
You may think this an extreme case. To us it is not
f a r -f e t ched, for this kind of thinking ha s be en cha ra c -
t e r is t i c of eve ry s ingl e one of us. We have some time s
reflected more than Jim did upon the consequences.
But there was always the curious mental phenomenon
that parallel with our sound reasoning there inevitably
ran some insanely trivial excuse for taking the first
drink. Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check.
The insane idea won out. Next day we would ask ourselves, in all earnestne ss and sincerity, how it could
have happened.
In some circumstances we have gone out deliberately to get drunk, feeling ourselves justified by
nervousness, anger, worry, depression, jealousy or the
l ike . But even in this type of beginning we a r e obliged
to admit that our justification for a spree was insanely
insufficient in the light of what always happened. We
now se e that when we began to drink de liberately,
instead or c asually, there was little serious or e ffective
thought during the pe riod of pr emedit a t ion of wha t
the t er r if ic cons equenc e s might be.
Our behavior is as absurd and incomprehensible
wi th re spe c t to the f ir s t drink a s tha t of an individua l
with a pa ssion, say, for jay-walking. He gets a thrill
out of skipping in f ront of f a s t -moving vehi c le s . He
enjoys himself for a few years in spite of friendly warnings. Up to this point you would label him as a foolish.

chap having que er ideas of fun. Luck then deserts
him and he is slightly injured several times in succession. You would expect him, if he were normal, to cut
it out. Presently he is hit again and this time has a
fractured skull. Within a week after leaving the hospi t a l a f a s t-moving t rol ley c a r bre aks his a rm. He
tells you he has decided to stop jay-walking for good,
but in a few weeks he breaks both legs.
On through the ye ars this conduct continues, accompanied by his continual promises to be care ful or to
keep off the streets altoge ther. Finally, he can no
longer work, his wife gets a divorce and he is held up
to ridicule. He tries every known means to ge t the jaywalking idea out of his head. He shuts himself up in
an asylum, hoping to mend his ways. But the day he
come s out he r a c e s in f ront of a f ir e engine , whi ch
bre aks his back. Such a man would be crazy, wouldn't
he ?
You may think our illustration is too ridiculous. But
is it? We, who have be en through the wringer, have
to admit if we substituted alcoholism for jay-walking,
the illustration would fit exactly. Howeve r intelligent
we may have been in other respects, where alcohol ha s be en involved, we have be en s t range ly ins ane .
I t 's s t rong l anguage- -but i sn't i t t rue ?
Some of you are thinking: "Yes, what you te ll is
true, but it doesn't fully apply. We admit we have
some of thes e symptoms, but we have not gone to the
extremes you fellows did, nor are we likely to, for we
unde rstand ourse lves so well after what you have told
us that such things c annot happen again. We have
not lost everything in life through drinking and we 

c e r t a inly do not int end to. Thanks for the informa -
That may be true of certain nonalcoholic people
who, though drinking foolishly and heavily at the
present time, are able to stop or moderate, because
the ir br a ins and bodie s have not be en damaged a s
ours we re. But the actual or potential alcoholic, with
ha rdly any exc ept ion, wi ll be ABSOLUTELY UNABLE TO STOP
we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash
home upon our a l cohol ic r e ade r s a s i t ha s be en r e -
vealed to us out of bitter experience. Let us take
another illustration.
Fred is a pa rtner in a well known accounting firm.
His income is good, he has a fine home , is happily
married and the father of promising children of college age. He has so attractive a personality that he
makes friends with everyone. If ever there was a
suc c e s s ful bus ine ss man, it i s Fr ed. To a ll appe a ranc e
he is a stable , well ba lanced individual. Yet, he is
alcoholic. We first saw Fred about a year ago in a
hospit a l whe r e he had gone to r e cove r f rom a bad
case of jitters. It was his first experience of this kind,
and he was much ashamed of it. Far from admitting
he was an alcoholic , he told himself he came to the
hospit a l to r e s t hi s ne rve s . The doc tor int ima t ed
strongly that he might be worse than he realized. For
a f ew days he wa s depr e s s ed about his condit ion. He
made up hi s mind to qui t drinking a ltoge the r . It never
occurred to him that perhaps he could not do so, in
spite of his character and standing. Fred would not
believe himself an alcoholic, much less accept a
spi r itua l r emedy for hi s probl em. We told him wha t 

we knew about alcoholism. He was intere sted and
conceded that he had some of the symptoms, but he
was a long way from admitting that he could do
nothing about it himself. He was positive that this
humil ia t ing expe ri enc e, plus the knowl edge he had a c -
quired, would keep him sober the re st of his life. Selfknowledge would fix it.
We he ard no more of Fred for a while. One day we
were told that he wa s back in the hospital. This time
he was quite shaky. He soon indicated he was anxious
to see us. The story he told is most instructive, for
here was a chap absolutely convinced he had to stop
drinking, who had no excuse for drinking, who exhibited splendid judgment and determination in all his
other concerns, yet was flat on his back nevertheless.
Le t him t e ll you about it : "I wa s much impre s s ed
with what you fellows said about alcoholism, and I
frankly did not believe it would be possible for me to
drink again. I rather apprec iated your idea s about
the subtle insanity which precedes the first drink, but
I was confident it could not happen to me a fter what I
had l ea rned. I r e a soned I wa s not so fa r advanc ed a s
most of you fellows, that I had been usually succ essful
in licking my other persona l problems, and that I
would therefore be successful where you men failed.
I felt I had every right to be se lf-confident, that it
would be only a ma t t e r of exer c i s ing my wi l l powe r
and keeping on guard.
"In this frame of mind, I went about my business
and for a time all wa s well. I had no trouble refusing
drinks, and began to wonder if I had not been making
too hard work of a simple ma tter. One day I went to
Washington to present some ac counting evidence to 

a government bureau. I had been out of town before
during this particular dry spell, so there was nothing
new about that. Physically, I felt fine. Neither did I
have any pressing problems or worries. My business
came off well, I was pleased and knew my partners
would be too. It was the end of a perfect day, not a
cloud on the horizon.
"I went to my hotel and leisurely dressed for dinner.
MORE. I ordered a cocktail and my meal. Then I ordered another cocktail. After dinner I decided to take
a wa lk. When I r e turned to the hote l it s t ruck me a
highball would be fine before going to bed, so I
stepped into the bar and had one . I remember having
several more that night and plenty next morning. I
have a shadowy re collection of being in a airplane
bound for New York, and of f inding a f ri endly t axic ab
driver at the landing field instead of my wife. The
drive r escorted me for severa l days. I know little
of where I went or wha t I said and did. Then came
the hospi t al wi th the unbe a r able menta l and phys ic a l
"As soon as I regained my ability to think, I went
carefully over that evening in Washington. NOT ONLY
THE CONSEQUENCES AT ALL. I had commenc ed to dr ink a s
carelessly as thought the cocktails were ginger ale. I
now remembered wha t my alcoholic friends had told
me, how they prophesied that if I had an alcoholic
mind, the time and place would come--I would drink 

aga in. They had s a id tha t though I did r ai s e a de fens e ,
it would one day give way before some trivial reason
for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and
more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not
occur to me at all. I knew from that moment that I
had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will powe r and
s e l f-knowledge would not he lp in those s t r ange ment a l
blank spots. I had never been able to understand
people who said that a problem had them hopelessly
defeated. I knew then. It was the crushing blow.
"Two of the members of Alcoholics Anonymous
came to see me. They grinned, which I didn't like so
much, and then asked me if I thought myself alcoholic
and if I were really licked this time. I had to concede
both propositions. They piled on me heaps of evidenc e to the e f fe c t tha t an a lcoholi c ment a l ity, such a s
I had exhibited in Washington, was hope less condition. They cited cases out of their own experience by
the dozen. This process snuffed out the last flicker of
conviction that I could do the job myself.
"Then they outlined the spiritual answer and progr am of a c t ion which a hundr ed of them had followed
suc c e s s ful ly. Though I had be en only a nomina l
churchman, their proposa ls were not, intellectually,
hard to swallow. But the program of ac tion, though
entirely sensible, was pretty drastic. It meant I would
have to throw several lifelong conceptions out of the
window. That was not easy. But the moment I made
up my mind to go through with the process, I had the
cur ious f ee l ing tha t my al cohol ic condit ion wa s r e -
l ieved, a s in f a c t i t proved to be .
"Qui te a s impor t ant wa s the dis cove ry tha t spi r itua l
pr inc iple s would solve a ll my problems . I have s inc e 

been brought into a way of living infinitely more satisfying and, I hope , mor e us e ful than the l if e I lived
be fore . My old manne r of li fe wa s by no me ans a bad
one, but I would not exchange its best moments for
the wor s t I have now. I would not go ba ck to it even
if I could."
Fr ed's s tory spe aks for i t s e lf . We hope it s t r ike s
home to thousands like him. He had felt only the first
nip of the wringer. Most alcoholics have to be pretty
badly mangled before they rea lly commence to solve
their problems.
Many doctors and psychiatrists agree with our conclusions. One of these men, staff member of a worldrenowned hospital, recently made this statement to
some of us: "What you say about the general hopelessness of the average alcoholics' plight is, in my opinion,
correct. As to two of you men, whose stories I have
heard, there is no doubt in my mind that you were
100% hopeless, apart from divine help. Had you offered yourse lves as patients a t this hospital, I would
not have taken you, if I had been able to avoid it.
People like you are too he artbreaking. Though not a
religious person, I have profound respec t for the
spiritual approach in such cases as yours. For most
cases, there is virtually no other solution."
Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no
effective mental defense against the first drink. Exc ept in a f ew c a s e s, ne ithe r he nor any other
human being can provide such a defense. His defense
must come from a Higher Power.

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Comment by Pam Vredenburg on June 25, 2012 at 9:04am

Sorry for the skips in the text, that is how the PDF Copied.  There is no Luck in this only your decision to quit long ago. When I looked into the eyes of my children & now I have Grandchildren I am glad I made the right choice for me & my family :) 

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