The Twelve Steps
aka How It Works
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 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.
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.
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.
The Twelve Traditions
Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a
loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are
but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for
A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be
autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a
5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to
the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An A.A. group ought never endorse,
finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise,
lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary
7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever
nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or
committees directly responsible to those they serve.
Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be
drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based
on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity
at the level of press, radio and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual
foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before
The Twelve Concepts
1. The final responsibility and
the ultimate authority for A.A. World services should always reside in the
collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.
in 1955, the A.A. groups confirmed the permanent charter for their General
Service Conference, they thereby delegated to the Conference complete authority
for the active maintenance of our world services and thereby made the
Conference-excepting for any change in the Twelve Traditions or in Article 12 of
the Conference Charter-the actual voice and the effective conscience for our
3.As a traditional means of creating and
maintaining a clearly defined working relation between the groups, the
Conference, the A.A. General Service Board and its several service corporations,
staffs, committees, and executives, and of thus insuring their effective
leadership, it is here suggested that we endow each of these elements of world
service with a traditional "Right of
4.Throughout our Conference structure, we
ought to maintain at all responsible levels a traditional "Right of
Participation, " taking care that each classification or group of our world
servants shall be allowed a voting representation in reasonable proportion to
the responsibility that each must
5.Throughout our world service structure, a
traditional "Right of Appeal" ought to prevail, thus assuring us that minority
opinion will be heard and that petitions for the redress of personal grievances
will be carefully considered.
6.On behalf of A.A. as a
whole, our General Service Conference has the principal responsibility for the
maintenance of our world services, and it traditionally has the final decision
respecting large matters of general policy and finance. But the Conference also
recognizes that the chief initiative and the active responsibility in most of
these matters should be exercised primarily by the trustee members of the
Conference when they act among themselves as the General Service Board of
7.The Conference recognizes that
the Charter and the Bylaws of the General Service Board are legal instruments:
that the trustees are thereby fully empowered to manage and conduct all of the
world service affairs of Alcoholics Anonymous.
trustees of the General Service Board act in two primary capacities: (a)With
respect to the larger matters of over-all policy and finance, they and their
primary committee directly manage these affairs. (B)But with respect to our
separately incorporated and constantly active services, the relation of the
trustees is mainly that of full stock ownership and of custodial oversight which
they exercise through their ability to elect all directors of these
9.Good service leaders, together with sound
and appropriate methods of choosing them, are at all levels indispensable for
our future functioning and safety. The primary world service leadership once
exercised by the founders of A.A. must necessarily be assumed by the trustees of
the General Service Board of Alcoholics
10.Every service responsibility should be
matched by an equal service authority-the scope of such authority to be always
well defined whether by tradition, by resolution, by specific job description,
or by appropriate charters and bylaws.
trustees hold final responsibility for A.A.'s world service administration, they
should always have the assurance of the best possible standing committees,
corporate service directors, executives , staffs, and consultants. Therefore,
the composition of these underlying committees and service boards, the personal
qualifications of their members, the manner of their induction into service, the
systems of their rotation, the way in which they are related to each other, the
special rights and duties of their executives, staffs, and consultants, together
with a proper basis for the financial compensation of these special workers,
will always be matters for serious care and
12General Warranties of the Conference: In all
the proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the
A.A. Tradition, taking great care that the Conference never becomes the seat of
perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds plus an ample reserve
, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference members shall
ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any of the others;
that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever
possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference action ever be personally
punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that, though the Conference may
act for the service of Alcoholics Anonymous, it shall never perform any acts of
government; and that, like the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous which it serves,
the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and
From The AA Service Manual ©