12 Steps for Everyone to Follow During Their Recovery Journey

Ready to start your recovery journey? Learn how the 12 Steps for Everyone can help you achieve lasting sobriety.

12 Steps for Everyone

What are the 12 Steps for Everyone?

Over 46 million individuals aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in 2021.1 

Recovery from addiction can be challenging for anyone, regardless of their background. Fortunately, there are 12 steps for everyone to follow that can help them on their recovery journey. 

These steps were first introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). But, they have been adapted for use in various other recovery programs.2

What is Addiction? How Addiction Happens

Overview of the 12 Steps

These Steps are based on spiritual principles. They encourage individuals to take responsibility, seek help, and practice self-reflection. 

With dedication and commitment, these 12 Steps for Everyone can provide a comprehensive roadmap for anyone seeking to overcome addiction.

What is the Origin of the 12 Steps?

The 12 Steps for Everyone have their origin in a group called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

AA was started in the 1930s by two men who struggled with alcohol addiction themselves. They created a program to help others like them. 

Widespread Use of the 12 Steps

The Steps were based on their personal experiences and what they found helpful in their own recovery. 

The 12 Steps have since been adopted by other recovery groups and have helped millions of people around the world overcome addiction.

The Evolution of the 12 Steps for Everyone

Over the years, the 12 Steps have been adapted and modified to meet the needs of individuals struggling with addiction to drugs and other substances. 

They have also been adapted to address a wide range of other issues. These issues include:

  • Gambling addiction
  • Sex addiction
  • Codependency

Other Groups Using the 12 Steps

Today, the 12 Steps for Everyone are used by a range of organizations and support groups. These include:
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Gamblers Anonymous
  • Overeaters Anonymous

The Accessibility of the 12 Steps for Everyone

One of the most important aspects of the 12 Steps for Everyone is their accessibility. The program is entirely voluntary and free. It can be accessed by anyone who is struggling with addiction. 

Participants are not required to have any particular religious or spiritual beliefs. They do not have to adhere to any specific doctrine or dogma. 

Instead, the 12 Steps provide a framework for individuals to explore their own beliefs and to develop their own personal understanding of their addiction and recovery.

What are the Principles of 12 Steps for Everyone? How Do They Help in Addiction Recovery?

The 12 Steps for Everyone is a powerful program that can help people overcome addiction. These steps are based on twelve important principles that guide individuals on their journey to recovery.3 

Let’s explore these principles and how they contribute to addiction recovery.

Step One: Honesty

Being honest with ourselves and others is a key principle in the 12 Steps. It means admitting that we have a problem with addiction and acknowledging its impact on our lives. 

Honesty helps us face the truth and take the necessary steps to recover.

Step Two: Hope

Hope plays a crucial role in addiction recovery. It means believing that change is possible and that a better life awaits us. 

When we have hope, we can stay motivated and work towards our recovery goals, even during difficult times.

Step Three: Surrender

Surrendering is another element of the 12 Steps for Everyone. It is about accepting that we cannot control our addiction. It means letting go of the idea that we can overcome it through sheer willpower alone. 

By surrendering, we can find support from others and open ourselves up to new possibilities.

Step Four: Soul-Searching

Soul-searching involves looking deep within ourselves to understand the underlying reasons for our addiction. It allows us to reflect on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. 

This self-reflection helps us uncover the root causes of our addiction and address them effectively.

Step Five: Integrity

Integrity means doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult. It involves taking responsibility for our actions and making amends for the harm we have caused. 

Acting with integrity helps rebuild trust, both in ourselves and in our relationships.

Step Six: Willingness

Willingness is about being open to change and embracing the recovery process. It means being willing to:
  • Seek help
  • Learn new coping skills
  • Make necessary lifestyle changes
With willingness, we can break free from addiction’s grip and create a healthier life.

Step Seven: Humility

Humility reminds us that we are not perfect and that we need help and support from others. It means recognizing our limitations and being willing to learn from others’ experiences. 

Humility allows us to grow and make positive changes in our lives.

Step Eight: Forgiveness

Forgiveness is an essential principle of the 12 Steps for Everyone. It involves letting go of resentment and anger towards ourselves and others. 

By forgiving, we free ourselves from the burden of negative emotions and can focus on healing and moving forward.

Step Nine: Making Amends

Making amends is about taking responsibility for our past actions and repairing the damage caused by our addiction. It means apologizing to those we have harmed and making sincere efforts to make things right. 

Making amends fosters healing and helps rebuild relationships.

Step Ten: Self-Reflection

Continued inventory is an ongoing process of self-reflection and accountability. It involves regularly evaluating our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to ensure we are on the right path to recovery. 

This self-check helps us identify potential triggers and address any relapse warning signs promptly.

Step Eleven: Seeking Guidance

Seeking guidance means reaching out for support from trusted individuals, such as sponsors, counselors, or support groups. It means recognizing that we can’t do it alone and that we benefit from the wisdom and experiences of others. 

Seeking guidance strengthens our recovery journey.

Step Twelve: Service

Service is an important principle of the 12 Steps for Everyone. It encourages us to give back to others and the community. By helping others in need, we gain a sense of purpose and fulfillment. 

Service also reminds us of the progress we have made in our own recovery and motivates us to continue on our path.

Can You Follow 12 Steps for Everyone Even if You’re Not Religious?

You can follow the principles of the 12 Steps for Everyone, even if you’re not religious. The 12 Steps  program is designed to help everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs. It focuses on personal growth, self-reflection, and finding support from others. 

Instead of religious ideas, the program emphasizes spirituality. It means connecting with something greater than ourselves and finding inner peace. 

You can interpret the principles based on your own beliefs and values. The entire focus is on personal change and learning from shared experiences. 

What Are the Various 12-Step Programs?

Many 12 Step programs can provide a path towards recovery. These programs are designed to provide support, guidance, and community for those seeking help. 

Here are some of the most well-known 12 Step programs:

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

This program is designed for those who struggle with alcoholism. It uses principles such as surrendering to a higher power and admitting powerlessness over alcohol. 

The goal is to make amends to wrongdoers and abstain from alcohol entirely as part of recovery. 

Research suggests that manualized AA interventions are more effective than many other abstinence treatment methods.4

12 Steps Within AA

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

This program is similar to AA. It focuses on helping those dealing with physical dependence or addiction to drugs instead of alcohol. 

It uses the same basic principles as AA but applies them specifically to drug abuse rather than alcohol.

Gamblers Anonymous (GA)

Gamblers Anonymous helps individuals who are struggling with gambling addictions. It does so by providing support, understanding, and resources for overcoming compulsive gambling behaviors. 

Participants learn skills such as avoiding high-risk situations associated with gambling episodes. They also learn how to moderate their behavior when exposed to a potential gambling temptation.

Cocaine Anonymous (CA)

CA is an important 12 Steps for Everyone program. It is specifically designed to address addiction to cocaine and other stimulants. 

Similar to AA, CA encourages members to admit powerlessness over their addiction. The aim is to seek support from a higher power or a collective power of the group. 

CA meetings provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, gain insights, and learn coping strategies to overcome their addiction. CA emphasizes abstinence from cocaine and aims to help members rebuild their lives.

Nicotine Anonymous (NicA)

NicA is a program designed specifically for those struggling with nicotine addiction. It’s a 12 Steps for Everyone program that helps individuals to work towards quitting smoking. 

NicA meetings provide a space for individuals to receive support and share their experiences. The goal is to learn from others who have successfully overcome their nicotine addiction.

How Effective Are 12 Steps for Everyone Programs?

The effectiveness of these programs can vary for different individuals.5 

Some people find them very helpful and stay sober, while others may struggle. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. 

Overall, the 12 Step program can be a useful tool in the recovery journey. But, individual results may vary.


What Are the Pros of Abiding by the 12 Steps?


The 12 Steps offer help from people who understand addiction. They do so by creating a supportive community of understanding and encouragement.


The 12 Steps for Everyone provide a clear and organized framework for individuals to follow. They give people a sense of direction and guidance in their recovery journey.


These steps encourage individuals to think about their actions and the impact of their addiction. This reflection helps them gain insight into their patterns and make positive changes.


By admitting their wrongdoings and making amends, individuals become responsible for their actions. This fosters personal growth and a sense of ownership in their recovery process.


The 12 Steps for Everyone promote truthfulness with oneself and others. This honesty allows individuals to confront their addiction with openness. They can build authentic relationships based on trust.

Coping Strategies

The 12 Steps for Everyone teach participants practical tools and strategies. As a result, they can cope with cravings, triggers, and challenging situations. 

These coping mechanisms empower individuals to resist relapse and make healthier choices.

Emotional Healing

The steps provide a platform for addressing past traumas and unresolved issues. By working through these emotional challenges, individuals can experience healing and improved mental well-being.


12 Steps for Everyone encourages individuals to explore and develop their spirituality. This exploration can provide a sense of purpose and a connection to something greater than themselves. 

As a result, they can experience a source of strength in their recovery journey.

Personal Growth

By actively engaging with the steps, individuals can experience personal growth and a renewed sense of self. This growth leads to improved self-esteem and a greater ability to navigate life without relying on substances.

Lifelong Support

12 Steps for Everyone offers ongoing help and fellowship through meetings and sponsorships. This support system provides a lifelong network of individuals who understand the challenges. 

They can offer guidance, encouragement, and accountability in maintaining long-term sobriety.


What Are the Potential Cons of Abiding by the 12 Steps for Everyone?

The 12 Steps can be beneficial for many individuals in addiction recovery. But, it is important to acknowledge that there are potential drawbacks or challenges. 

Potential Challenges of the 12 Steps

Some people may encounter these challenges when attempting to adhere to this approach:
  • The 12 Steps may not work for everyone or match their beliefs or values.
  • The focus on a higher power might be hard for those without spiritual or religious beliefs.
  • The 12 Steps for Everyone may not address individual needs and circumstances.
  • Some individuals may struggle in group settings, which are important in 12 Step programs.
  • Public perception of 12 Step Programs may discourage people from seeking help due to stigma and labeling.
  • The 12 Steps for Everyone may not allow for flexibility or alternative approaches to recovery.
  • While supportive, the steps may not offer professional guidance for complex cases or underlying mental health issues.

What Are Some Potential Ways to Mitigate These Challenges?

Here are some potential ways to mitigate these challenges:
  • Be receptive to alternative recovery approaches that better align with personal values.
  • Seek out programs that provide understanding beyond traditional 12 Step programs.
  • Engage in one-on-one counseling to address specific needs and receive personalized guidance.
  • Explore holistic recovery methods that consider physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
  • Consult mental health professionals for expertise in addressing underlying mental health issues and developing tailored treatment plans.
Remember, everyone’s recovery journey is unique. Finding the right approach requires openness to various options to find what works best for each individual.

What Are Some Ways Social Support Can Help in Addiction Recovery?

Social support can play a crucial role in helping individuals overcome their substance abuse problems and promoting long-term sobriety. 

Some ways in which social support can help in addiction recovery will be detailed below.

Emotional Support

Addiction can be a lonely and isolating experience. Having a supportive network of family and friends can help individuals feel less alone and more motivated. 

Emotional support from loved ones can also provide encouragement during difficult times. As a result, it helps individuals to stay focused on their goals.


Social support can provide individuals in recovery with a sense of accountability. Accountability can be a powerful motivator to stay on track with sobriety. 

Friends and family members can help individuals to stay accountable. They can do so by checking in with them regularly, providing feedback, and ensuring they follow through.

Practical Support

Practical support refers to the tangible forms of assistance that individuals can receive from their social network. This may include help with transportation, financial support, and childcare. 

In this way, you can reduce the stress and logistical barriers that may hinder an individual’s recovery journey.

Role Models

Having positive role models can be an important source of inspiration for individuals in recovery. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can offer a community of individuals. 

These individuals have experience with addiction. They can share their own personal stories of struggle and success.

Relapse Prevention

Social support can assist individuals in recovery with relapse prevention strategies. Counselors, sober coaches, and support groups can provide tools for coping with triggers and stressors. 

They can also connect individuals with resources for continued support beyond their initial recovery period.

A Closer Look at Relapse Prevention

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About the 12 Steps for Everyone? How Can They Be Addressed?

Addressing common misconceptions about the 12 Steps is essential. This helps provide a clearer understanding of this approach to addiction recovery.

It’s Only for Religious People

The 12 Steps are not limited to religious individuals. They emphasize a higher power, which can be interpreted in a spiritual or non-religious way. 

People of various beliefs can benefit from the principles and support provided by the steps.

It’s the Only Effective Approach to Recovery

While the 12 Steps for Everyone have helped many people, they may not work for everyone. It’s important to acknowledge that there are multiple paths to recovery. 

Individuals should explore various treatment options to find what works best for them.

You Have to Hit Rock Bottom to Benefit From It

The idea of hitting rock bottom is not a requirement for engaging in the 12 Steps. Individuals can seek help and begin their recovery journey at any stage. 

Early intervention and support can prevent further damage and facilitate a smoother recovery process.

It’s All About Giving Up Control

The 12 Steps for Everyone encourage individuals to recognize their lack of control over addiction. But, it does not mean they are giving up control over their lives. 

Instead, it promotes a shift towards:

  • Accepting personal responsibility
  • Making positive choices
  • Regaining control over one’s actions and well-being

You Have to Attend Meetings Forever

While many individuals find ongoing support beneficial, attending them indefinitely is not mandatory. Some people transition to less frequent meetings as they progress in their recovery. 

The 12 Steps aim to equip individuals with the tools to maintain sobriety independently.

It’s a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

The 12 Steps provide a structured framework. But, they can be adapted to suit individual needs. 

Each person’s recovery journey is unique. Customization is possible within the overall principles of the program. 

Individuals can work with counselors to tailor their approach to address their specific challenges.

12 steps for everyone

Can the 12 Steps Be Used in Conjunction With Other Forms of Addiction Treatment?

The 12 Steps can be used alongside other forms of addiction treatment like medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or therapy. This combination can enhance the recovery process for individuals seeking help.

The 12 Steps provide a framework for individuals to achieve and maintain sobriety. Likewise, medication-assisted treatment and therapy address specific physical and psychological aspects of addiction. 

Using these different forms of treatment together can lead to a more comprehensive recovery plan. 

Why Choose Choice House Colorado

Choice House offers comprehensive support to individuals seeking help in their recovery journey. We provide a range of effective approaches that can make a difference in the lives of those willing to commit to recovery. 

Our programs incorporate various holistic approaches that address the mind, body, and spirit. 

The therapies we offer promote overall well-being and contribute to a balanced recovery. We understand that healing extends beyond traditional methods. We aim to provide a nurturing environment that supports individuals in their holistic well-being.

Reach Out Today

At Choice House, we are here to support individuals in their quest for a healthier and addiction-free life. 

Our holistic and evidence-based approaches, along with the inclusion of medication-assisted treatment when appropriate, make us a valuable resource for men seeking effective addiction treatment.

Reach out to our team at Choice House for a confidential consultation. We will assess your needs and determine the best course of action.

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Choice House is your comprehensive guide to lasting sobriety and wellness. Reach out to us today to see how we can support you on your journey toward sustainable well-being.