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The 12-step recovery program was originally created in the 1930s and its main focus was alcoholism. Since then, the program has been adapted to several types of addictions, including drugs and gambling. AA’s 12-Step approach follows a set of guidelines designed as “steps” towards recovery. Many have found that these steps were not merely a way to stop drinking or using drugs, as they eventually became a guide towards a new way of life.


Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

  • Understanding and accepting this step is very important
  • The concept of powerlessness is crucial to the 12 Step program
  • Although a simple step, admitting powerlessness and unnameability is not always easy
  • Denial can be a strong impediment at this stage


Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  • This step is about finding something outside of ourselves that inspires and helps us remain clean and sober
  • One does not need to be religious to work this step but Spirituality is important
  • Members are not required to accept someone else's concept of God, only to trust that there is a power "greater than themselves" however they wish to describe it or understand it


Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

  • This step requires action
  • Letting go and acceptance are integral to this step
  • Change will not occur overnight as this is a process

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  • This step consists of a detailed personal inventory of one’s good and bad qualities
  • This step allows for a clearer understanding of one’s self as it allows for self-reflection
  • This is not an easy step as it involves exploring past experiences and emotions
  • Complete honesty is crucial when doing Step 4

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  • During this step, the contents of Step 4 are discussed
  • At this stage, certain patterns and behaviors might become apparent and this helps the recovering addict start understanding themselves better
  • A sense of relief is usually felt after this step and the person can continue to let go


At OASI, these first 5 Steps are done while the recovering addict is still doing the residential program. However, the remaining Steps are just as important and it is recommended that the recovering addict continues to work them with their counsellor or a sponsor once the residential part of the program is finished.