Secular Twelve Steps


On page 164 of the Big Book, Bill Wilson wrote: “Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know but a little,” and in the Forward to Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, he wrote: A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.” With that in mind, here is a secular version, suggested as a program of recovery. Note that it is stated in present tense to reminds us that it needs to be a continuing and present process.

  1. I concede to my innermost self that I am alcoholic—that on my own I am powerless to confront and resolve my addictions.
  2. I learn to trust and hope that a new course of action, practice of these Twelve Steps in a supportive fellowship can and will restore me to sanity.
  3. I make a daily decision to turn my will and my life over to this 12 step process and development of the inner resources they help me find and follow.
  4. I learn how to take a searching, fearless, and honest inventory of myself, my thoughts, beliefs, emotions and actions.
  5. I admit to myself and to another person what I learn about myself, sharing my life story—withholding nothing.
  6. I become willing to let go of anything and everything holding me back.
  7. I use whatever personal power and resources I find to help me confront self-limiting liabilities and defenses when they crop up.
  8. I list all persons I have harmed, and become willing to make things right.
  9. I make things right with all I have harmed, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. I continue to take personal inventory and when I am wrong promptly admit it.
  11. I seek through meditation and self-examination to increase awareness of my deepest thoughts and feelings, seeking only for the knowledge of what is right and the power to carry that out.
  12. Awakening through the practice of these Steps to the spiritual and non-material in my life, I try to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of my affairs.

Bill also wrote: “There are few absolutes inherent in the Twelve Steps. Most Steps are open to interpretation, based on the experience and outlook of the individual. Consequently, the individual is free to start the steps at whatever point he can, or will.”

 REVISED: October/2016