The 12 steps were written around 1935 by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous in America. They are a thoughtful self-help program and are used successfully by many institutions and self-help groups.
The 12 steps help me to live a life without alcohol. They let me look at myself critically, teach me to be modest and ask me to be open to others. That's why these steps have become important to me. Not least because they work!
12 steps and the gospel
In the original version of the 12 step program God is mentioned regularly. At first glance, that seems very nice. Yet during the meetings I soon found out that AA sees God mainly as a higher power ('God as you experience him'). Very spiritual, but without gospel. The Lord Jesus as Savior does not appear in AA principles.
To me, calling God in the 12 steps feels double. Precisely because I miss the most important thing: God showing Himself in His Son.
12 steps in dependence
Yet the 12 steps completely get to the point: we need God's help to stop drinking and start a life without alcohol. As Christians, we may do this out of the grace and love of our Heavenly Father. Looking to the finished work of His Son Jesus. And always led by the Holy Spirit. With that starting point I can apply the 12 steps in my life.
One step is covered every week within the AA. And after the 12th step, the cycle starts again. Boring? No, every time you discover new things and there is something that appeals to you at that moment. That's what the talks are about. In the AA meetings I attended, a modern version of the 12 steps was used. I would also like to use it here, because of the clear formulation.
1. I acknowledge my addiction: I am powerless over alcohol.
2. I admit I need help.
3. I accept help and am fully open to it.
4. I take stock of my life.
5. I confess my wrongdoing to myself and others.
6. I discover my weaknesses and shortcomings (old behavior).
7. I work on my weaknesses and shortcomings (no more excuses).
8. I oversee the people around me.
9. I try to make amends with people dear to me,
unless I hurt them.
10. I look at myself critically and recognize my weaknesses and pitfalls.
11. I regularly look for a moment of rest to draw strength from it.
12. I share my experiences with others who need it.