All 12 step programs are derived from the original 12 step program called Alcoholics Anonymous. The Alcoholics Anonymous book was first published in 1939. Because of its success, people with other addictions have adopted the 12 steps to help them with their particular addiction. Some examples of other 12 step programs and may be familiar are Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, and Gamblers Anonymous. 12 step programs provide a set of guiding principles for a course of action that has the potential to help the participant to achieve a state of recovery. The American Psychological Association summarizes the process in this way:
- • admitting that one cannot control one's addiction or compulsion
- • recognizing that a greater power can give strength
- • examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (an experienced member)
- • making amends for these errors
- • learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior
- • helping others that suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.
One of the cofounders of AA, Dr. Bob, summarize it this way "Trust God, clean house, help others".