Alcoholic’s Anonymous has been a staple in our society for those wishing to recover from alcoholism. We are perhaps all familiar with their “twelve step program” and allusions are frequently made to this unrivaled program throughout our media outlets. In discussing self-control and addictions, let’s adapt this program to spiritual recovery from sin. Each of these steps is adapted from the Alcoholic’s Anonymous website: http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-42_abriefguidetoaa.pdf.
Step 1: Admit powerlessness over sin and recognize that sin has resulted in an unmanageable life (Romans 6:17; 7:1ff).
Step 2: Come to believe that God can restore us to sanity (Psalms 51:12).
Step 3: Turn our will and lives over to the care of God (Acts 2:38; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 5:7).
Step 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Step 5: Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs (Acts 26:10).
Step 6: Be ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings (Psalms 51).
Step 8: Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible (Genesis 32; Matthew 5:23-24).
Step 10: Continue to reflect and promptly admit when we are wrong (2 Samuel 24:16-18; contrast Proverbs 30:20).
Step 11: Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying to know His will for us (Matthew 6:10; Luke 22:41-43).
Step 12: Having changed ourselves, we carry this message to sinners and continue to practice these principles in all our affairs (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 4:13; 5:11).