As the Alcoholics Anonymous organization has continued to grow and evolve, so too have the tools and resources available to its members. One of the most practical and sought-after are 12 Steps AA worksheets. They’re great for helping organize thoughts and feelings that might otherwise be chaotic and difficult to confront. Plus, there’s just something about putting pen to paper that, for better or worse, makes things feel more real. Follow these guided worksheet questions for all twelve steps and a simplified explanation of what each of them means.
The 12 Steps of AA: Simplified
Below you’ll find a brief overview of each of the 12 Steps that includes what it means and why it matters. Use this in conjunction with any of the worksheets you use to remind yourself what the step is all about and to compare it to other steps that might have a similar lesson.
- You need to be able to admit you have a problem before you can begin recovery. If you’re still in denial, you aren’t in the right mindset for changing.
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
- Relinquishing the need for control and finding an external source of motivation. This “Higher Power” doesn’t need to be a religious entity and can be anything that you find motivational.
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
- Learn to accept that you cannot control everything. Once you do, you’ll allow yourself to rely on others which opens you to helpful guidance and advice.
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
- Taking an honest look at yourself can help you evaluate how your drinking got to such a point, and show you how you can improve.
“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
- Sometimes we need to be vulnerable and brutally honest with ourselves in order to move forward. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
- Motivation is key to creating long-lasting change. After a brutally honest evaluation of ourselves, we identify and release the negative aspects of our character.
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
- Achieving change doesn’t happen without humility, accountability, and most of all—action.
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”.
- Drinking doesn’t just hurt ourselves, but also the people around us. Taking responsibility by acknowledging our past faults will, in turn, help us forgive ourselves.
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
- In the last step we talked the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk and do right by the people that we hurt in the past.
“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
- Make mindfulness a constant practice and remain vigilant that we’re acting and thinking in a way that supports our goals.
“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
- Don’t expect perfection from yourself, but always strive to be better (and be gracious when you experience setbacks).
“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.”
- Help others accomplish their sobriety goals by taking part in the organization and using your experiences as a way to help others who are struggling.
“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.”
AA Worksheet Resources
Not sure how to work the 12 Steps?
The 12 Steps is the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous. They’ve inspired countless other peer-based support groups, bringing hope and change to millions of people. The principle behind each step is as relevant and effective today as it was more than 80 years ago when AA was initially created.
While it’s possible to read, study, and work the 12 steps on your own, it can be very helpful to have insight and support from peers. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings offer a safe, judgment-free space to meet with others who have gone through similar struggles. Find an AA meeting near you today for guidance on understanding how to incorporate these lessons into your everyday life.