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The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous - Part Two, Steps 8 through 12

Updated on October 31, 2014

Addiction is a Secretive Disease


12 Steps and 12 Traditions

Popular Sayings in Alcoholics Anonymous

"You hang out in a barbershop long enough, you're going to get your hair cut"

"First things first"

"Get back to the basics"

"Don't quit just before the miracle happens"

"Easy does it"

"Play the time the whole way through"

"This to shall pass"

"It works if you work it"

"Stick with the winners"

"Faith without works is dead"

"To thine own self be true"

"If God feels far from you, maybe you're the one who moved away"

"Take what you can and leave the rest"

"Its the first drink that gets you drunk"

"If you want to keep it, you have to give it away"

"The bottom is the moment you decide to stop digging"

"We are only as sick as our secrets"

"Change is a process, not an event"

"Sometimes GOD is just some Good Orderly Direction"

"You don't join this program, you live this program"

"One drink is too many, yet one thousand is never enough"

"Principles before personalities"

"Keep coming back, it gets better"

"To thine own self be true"

"What you see here, hear here, stays here"

Step Eight and Step Nine

Step Eight - Make a List of Those Whom We Have Harmed

In step eight of the 12 step program, the addict makes a list of all people they have harmed- this is their moral inventory.

This step cannot be done out of order because it is one of the most important steps in the 12 step program and relies on building up strength through the previous seven steps in order to complete.

The task of writing down every single wrong you have ever done to someone can seem like a mountainous task.

With patience, as well as the help of your higher power and your sponsor, over time you will be able to complete this moral inventory in order to rid yourselves of the wreckages of your past.

This is necessary in order to gain a clean slate, as well as to start and maintain recovery. There is no half-assing this part of the process.

Step eight is when you write EVERYTHING down so that you can begin to step away from the addict you were and embrace the recovered being you were meant to be.

Making a list is just part of this step however.

If the addict cannot become willing to make amends with all of those whom they have harmed, they cannot continue to step nine.

This often takes prayer, discussion at 12-step meetings, heart to heart talks with a sponsor and in-depth looks into ones on past.

Step Nine - Make Amends with the People We Have Harmed in Our Past

Now that the list has been written and talked over with the addict’s sponsor, as well as their higher power, it is time to clean house. Step nine is all about action.

At this point in recovery, the addict will review the list of those whom they have harmed and begin to make amends with those people.

This is a difficult process, and if the addict has been honest with their inventory, the process can often take months or years, but is vital to the recovery of the addict.

You don’t have to tackle the entire list in the first week, the fact that you have compiled the list and are willing to make the amends is already great progress.

Go at your own pace when it comes to making amends with those you have harmed, utilize your sponsor during these difficult times and share about your experiences at meetings.

The Spiritual Principles and the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps

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Step Ten

Steps 10, 11 and 12 of the 12 steps are known as the maintenance steps. The first nine steps prepared addicts to get to this point in recovery. Now the time has come to maintain this spiritual condition and keep the addiction at bay.

Step ten builds off of steps eight and nine.

The personal inventory is referring to the eighth step’s list of amends, only now that the addict has cleaned his side of the street, he only has to do this on a daily basis. This is in order to maintain a clear conscience and a fit spiritual condition.

At the end of the day, he takes a look at his behavior for that 24-hour period. He looks at where he was resentful, angry, dishonest, afraid or thinking about things that he shouldn’t have been. Then, the next day he makes corrective action to make things right again.

This is a short version of steps four through nine and it is a preventative measure to make sure the addict doesn’t slip back into a pattern of old behavior.

Addiction is a Powerful Disease that Interferes with Your Ability to Live Your Life


Step Eleven

Step 11 builds off of steps two and three and strengthens the addict’s connection with his Higher Power.

The most basic way to strengthen the relationship between the addict and his Higher Power is through prayer and meditation. Taking a few minutes every morning and night to thank Him for another day free from addiction is a small way to pay Him back for all that recovery has done for the addict.

Anyone in recovery knows that left to their own devices, they would not have succeeded. A Higher Power is the reason that any addict achieves sobriety, and without strengthening the relationship, just like any other relationship, that bond will fade.

Doing God’s will is another way to build the bond, for it is through acting the way a Higher Power believes one should act that God sees that the addict has changed. This spiritual maintenance should happen on a daily basis, however the addict sees fit.

Escape the Sadness and the Emptiness, Embrace Recovery


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Step Twelve

Step 12 is all about service and paying it forward.

Now that a spiritual awakening has occurred in the life of the addict (and that is a promised result if the steps have been worked thoroughly), his job is to carry the message to other addicts and practice the principles of the program in his daily life.

Service work, sponsorship and speaking at meetings are three ways to do service. The principles that are being referred to are honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, faith, humility, along with other good-natured qualities that become developed or enhanced as a result of these steps.

After seeing how the program has changed his life, his job now is to help others the way he was helped. This step is what keeps the program alive.

Watch the Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Speaking About the Program in Atlanta, Georgia

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal


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    • Kathleen Odenthal profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      5 years ago from Bridgewater

      thanks swilliams! I always appreciate kind words about my art!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am so drawn in by your artwork, it is photographed so beautifully! This topic is very useful of course, and I know it will help many! Voted up & Tweeted out!


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