Get to Know the 12 Steps of AA and NA

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) utilize the 12 steps to guide recovering addicts along their journey to sobriety. Conquering addiction is much more than physically ridding the body of abused substances; using the AA steps and the 12 steps of NA opens the minds of recovering addicts and encourages them to enhance their spirituality and morality. Once the 12 steps are completed, they are should be revisited and reworked. Here are the 12 AA steps:

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

When you’re aware of what your addiction has the power to do to your life, and you admit that you suffer from the disease of addiction, you begin to build the ability to fight it.

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

Although AA isn’t a religious program, the AA steps recognize the acceptance of some form of Higher Power is recommended. Once you accept the presence of a higher being, you introduce the necessary spirituality and guidance into your life.

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

The decision to give your life over to a Higher Power will bring the support and comfort you need in order to restore your life to its full potential.

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

After honest self-reflection and soul-searching, you will be able to take note of the areas in your life that require more attention and improvement.

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

You show your vulnerability and become more open to change once you admit the extent of your failures to yourself, God, and another love ones.

Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Being ready to surrender your worries and issues to God, or your Higher Power, you become more willing to free yourself of the trouble of your past and begin to evolve.

Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Once you ask God to relieve you of your faults and shortcomings, you help yourself let go of the things you’ve been ashamed of and work on fixing them with hope.

Step 8. Made a list of all the person we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

The willingness to make amends with those you have hurt, due to your addiction, promotes forgiveness and lets you understand the importance of healing relationships you’ve damaged.

Step 9. Made a direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

When you apologize and try to fix damaged relationships, you heal yourself and those you’ve hurt in the past. 

Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

You must always remember to stop and self-reflect often to recognize the progress you’ve made. In areas where progress needs to be made, admit you need help and continue to work on improvement.

Step 11. 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.

The AA steps call for communication with your Higher Power to improve the quality of life. At moments when you feel lost, the need to ask for guidance are necessary for self-improvement.

Step 12. Having had 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. 

Even when you’re personally done completing these step, you’re encouraged to share them with others and continue to work on them repeatedly.

The Difference between the AA Steps and the 12 Steps of NA

The 12 steps of NA are the same as the AA steps. However, in NA, the word “alcohol” is replaced with “addiction,” to promote recovery from all substances, not just alcohol. Addiction is a disease that requires more than abstinence from a particular substance. Many areas of the life need to be constantly worked on, which is what these 12 steps encourage.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.