An alcoholic, Bill W. sought out Bob S., another alcoholic, not to drink with but to stay sober with. It seemed to be a case of the blind leading the blind, but it worked and Alcoholic Anonymous had its beginning.
Each of these two men found in the other the support he needed to break the hold of alcohol and together they discovered the power they had to help other alcoholics. It changed the way society looks at and deals with addiction. Since then the Alcoholics Anonymous movement has covered the world and changed the lives of millions for good.
I was first introduced to the program in 1953 when I was invited to speak to an AA convention being held in the city auditorium in Big Spring. Posted on the front wall that evening were The Twelve Steps. I came away from that meeting convinced that the twelve-step program could be applied to any personal problem and could lead to a transformed life. What do you think?
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we 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 make personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
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.
12. Having had a 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.
Happy 76th Anniversary, AA!
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.