Secular 12 Steps for Recovery

12 Secular Steps for Addiction Recovery

(An Agnostic Adaptation of the Steps Used by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous)

  1. I admitted that I am an addict, and that my life had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that through honesty and effort, combined with the help of others, I could recover from addiction.
  3. Made a decision to actively work a Twelve Step recovery plan to the best of my ability.
  4. Completed a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
  5. Honestly admitted to myself and to another human being the results of my inventory, including my defects of character.
  6. Became willing to change defects in my character.
  7. Accepted responsibility for my actions.
  8. Listed all persons I had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when I was wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought to improve my conscious awareness of ethical principles and values, and to use them consistently as standards for my decisions and actions.
  12. Having recovered as a result of these Steps, I acknowledge my commitment to help others and to continue to use these principles in my daily life.

Working these Steps occurs in roughly three phases. In the initial phase, we admit our problem (Step 1) and find the solution: an active 12 Step plan by which we achieve recovery one day at a time (Steps 2 and 3). In the second phase (Steps 4 through 9), we examine our faults and “clear away the wreckage from the past.” We first analyze and overhaul our inward defects in character (Steps 4 through 7), and then we look outward and repair our relationships with others (Steps 8 and 9). Steps 10, 11, and 12 make up the third phase through which we maintain our sobriety and find purpose in our lives including service to others.  Just as Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, “suggested” the original 12 Steps as a program of recovery, these adapted 12 Steps are also a suggested framework and guide.


These adapted Steps appear in Chapter 1 of Twelve Secular Steps: An Addiction Recovery Guide by Bill W.  Please feel free to reprint or distribute.


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