12 Step Principles


Along with the traditional twelve steps of AA, there are a series of linked principles. These restate and reinforce some of the issues common to the alcoholic community. Some refer to these as the virtues of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Surrender -- the act of admitting we are powerless on our own.

Hope -- also mentioned as trust, this is the principle of believing there is an answer available.

Committment -- accepting the help on offer.

Honesty-- Self inventory.

Truth -- a confession of wrongs.

Willingness-- abandonment of defects.

Humility -- Humbleness to seek repair of shortcomings.

Reflection -- Discovering those we have wronged.

Amendment -- Repairing what damage we can.

Vigilance -- Sticking with best practices.

Attunement -- Growing in spiritual connection.

Service -- Returning the gift we received to others.

Each of these is derived from, and informed by, the step they link up with. They are a restatement and a support, rather than a replacement. The 12 step principles illustrate the link between moral character and remaining sober, with the best of human virtues reflected in the desired result – abstinence.

Other lists

There are other versions of this list, and that’s fine. Each of the twelve steps embodies more than what a single word can capture. For example, where I have written “Attunement,” others might put “Spirituality.” In this context, they mean the same thing – becoming “in tune” with a higher power, a touchstone, and a fundamental spiritual guide.

Importantly, while there are other ways to express these ideas, all of the 12 step principles seem to be lacking when someone is actively addicted. The vices of addiction are rewritten as the virtues of sobriety, and so too is the individual alcoholic rewritten in the form of a sober, principled person. A person of integrity, honesty and community.


The information provided on 12Step.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute the practice of medicine. We encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician or nutritionist if they have any concerns regarding health issues related to diet, personal image and any other topics discussed on this site. Neither the owners or employees of 12Step.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Call 800-895-1695to discuss treatment options

Treatment Center Directory

Need Help? Find a Treatment Center

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction and need help entering into recovery then we are here to offer help in any way we can. We have over 14,000 Treatment Centers listed on our Directory. You can search by Zip Code, City or State. Click here to search for a Treatment Center that is right for you.