The beginning of the 12 Step and “recovery movement” began on May 11, 1935 when Bill Wilson, an “incurable alcoholic” desperate with a last gasp of HOPE, called a church whose number he found from a phone directory. The church then directed him to Dr. Bob, known to that church as another incurable alcoholic. Bill reached out to Dr. Bob, one alcoholic to another.
That CONNECTION: incurable alcoholic to church to another incurable alcoholic was the spark that created what some consider to be among the greatest mental health achievements of the 20th century. That connection established the importance of peer to peer connection, establishing a community of like minded souls. As membership increased, they formed the 12 Steps, a “program of recovery”. Alcoholism, in its origin, was viewed as a “spiritual malady” and the 12 Steps, with many believe it to be useful for anyone. Ultimately it is believed a relationship with a God of your understanding was necessary for true and complete recovery. From that initial atomic explosion 12 Step programs have been birthed from the original “AA” program to embrace other conditions requiring recovery. Simply put, meetings (where two or more are gathered) consist of the fellowship and the 12 Steps represent “The Program”.
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
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.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
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.
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.
Notwithstanding the success and growth of all 12 Step Programs, many individuals did not (do not) connect with its fellowship, principles or program, either initially or at all.