The Twelve Step programs are well known for their use in recovering from addictive and dysfunctional behaviors. The first 12 step program began with Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) in the 1930s and has since grown to be the most widely used approach in dealing not only with recovery from alcoholism, but also from drug abuse and various other addictive and dysfunctional behaviors.

The first book written to cover the 12 step program was titled "Alcoholics Anonymous", affectionately known as the Big Book by program members. Following the subsequent extensive growth of twelve step programs for other addictive and dysfunctional behaviors, many additional books were written and recordings and videos were produced. These cover the steps in greater detail and how people have specifically applied the steps in their lives. Probably the most extensive chronology and historical background about the attempts for dealing with alcoholism which led to A.A. has been put together at the website (Dr. Silkworth being the physician who authored "The Doctor's Opinion" in the Big Book).

The twelve steps of the program are listed above and on the steps page in generic form. Other groups who have adopted the 12 steps to address their own particular addictive or dysfunctional behavior have similar ideas, usually with only minor variations. These steps are ideally meant to be worked sequentially as a process of getting rid of addictive behaviors and should result in a growth in freedom and happiness, as outlined in the Promises. The general governing approach for A.A. groups was originally laid out in the Twelve Traditions, and they remain the guiding principles for most 12 step groups today.

There is additional information about 12 Step programs in Wikipedia, including a list of 12 step groups. We also have a more detailed and extensive list of 12 step groups as well as numerous other resources for working a program of recovery.

The Largest, Most Rigorous Independent Study on A.A. to Date Validates Relative Effectiveness

The largest, most rigorous independent study on Alcoholics Anonymous to date shows that A.A. can help people get sober, stay sober, drink less, and suffer fewer negative consequences of drinking, all while keeping health care costs down. Watch scientists John Kelly (Harvard/MGH) and Keith Humphreys (Stanford/VA) discuss their findings (published 11 March 2020 by the Cochrane Collaborative), with commentary from psychologist Gabrielle Jones.

A summary is available on the Harvard Gazette and the Stanford Medicine News Center .

Newcomers Guide

View the Newcomers Guide for some straightforward tips and a quick overview about starting a 12 Step program. It could be the best thing you ever did.

Newcomers Guide

Newcomers Guide


View some videos covering the steps in general or for each step individually. These videos cover a wide variety of perspectives about the 12 steps.

Step Fellowships

Review how the different fellowships (A.A., N.A., O.A, CoDA, etc.) have worded their versions of the 12 steps, with links to associated resources.


Find an online meeting in our calendar of meetings. These are broken out by fellowship, website and meeting format (video, chat, telephone).

Big Book

Read the book that first laid out the 12 steps, titled Alcoholics Anonymous but known fondly as the Big Book. First written in the 1930s, it contains timeless principles.


The graphics section has numerous images related to recovery which you can freely download and use for wallpapers, posters or however would help you in recovery.


Download worksheets with questions for all the steps or Step 4 inventory questions specific to childhood, adolescence and adulthood.


Our directory has links to numerous web sites useful for recovery. They are grouped by organization type and tagged according to what resources that they offer.

Journal Software

Download free journaling software for your Windows desktop (or an alpha version for Mac OS X) for working all of the 12 steps as well as for general journaling.