The beginning of twelve step programs is usually traced back to 1935, when
Bill W. and Dr. Bob began first meeting together and with other alcoholics
and began using a 12 step process for recovery from alcoholism. The
organization that grew out of these initial meetings came to be known as
"Alcoholics Anonymous" or A.A. and is the model for many
subsequent 12 step groups that deal with different addictions besides
Because of the tremendous growth of 12 step programs since that time, there
are a great deal number of books, websites,
treatment facilities and other resources related to the 12 step program.
The resources presented here are some of the first and most
"standard" references for working the 12 step program. They
should be valuable to anyone who wants to work a recovery program using
the 12 step approach.
First published in 1939 and subtitled The Story of How Many Thousands of
Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism, the Alcoholics Anonymous
(A.A.) 'Big Book', as it is commonly called, is the first text
written about the experiences of the founders of the A.A. movement. It
tells the story of Bill W., one of the co-founders of A.A. and how the
program worked in the early days of the movement. It is full of much
timeless and practical wisdom and is the first standard (and some would
say the only standard) text of A.A. and, subsequently, of 12 step programs.
You can read
the book online (2nd edition)
or you can download the book
(496 KB download size) in PDF format.
Promises come from the A.A. Big Book
and state the promises that are offered to those who sincerely work the 12 steps
Twelve Traditions also come from the
A.A. Big Book and state the traditions that grew out of experience while
trying to build an A.A. organization that would help others to effectively
recover from the disease of alcoholism.
This is a compilation of the wording of the 12 steps for the different groups
that have adopted this approach, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous
and many others. For the most part, the steps are usually very similar in
wording, building on the wisdom of the initial 12 steps.
documents are links to documents that are used in 12 step meetings. They can be
useful for investigating how a meeting works before you go to a meeting, or they can
be used in the chairing and leadership of a meeting that you may be attending.
Historians have traced the genesis of the 12 step programs in Alcoholics Anonymous
(A.A) back to the Oxford Group, a Christian evangelistic movement from the early 1900s.
Bill Wilson, one of the co-founders of A.A., after being visited by an old friend,
Ebby Thatcher, was restored to sobriety through the principles from the Oxford Group.
In the subsequent development of A.A., Bill Wilson eventually distanced himself
from the Oxford Group in order to reach out to Catholics and other groups who were
forbidden from or uncomfortable with the evangelical emphasis. However, many of the
traditions of the Oxford Group continue in the 12 Step approach and the Bible
remains a foundation for recovery for many of those in A.A. and other 12 Step
Commentaries on the Bible are presented in this
section of our web site in light of the 12 Step program. These comments are primarily
the thoughts of one commentator from 12Step.org, so please take them with a grain of
salt and, as the 12 step saying goes, "Take what you need and leave