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The 12 Principles of Recovery Explained

Person outdoors following the 12-Step Principles of Recovery

Many people hear about the 12-Step approach made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and think that the process is complicated. This is precisely why it is so important to have a better understanding of the 12-Step Principles of Recovery. The 12 AA Principles are fundamental concepts that guide the 12 Steps. Call 208.486.0130 to speak with someone from Northpoint Recovery’s team about the 12 Steps of AA explained.

The 1st Principle: Surrender

Addiction is a disease of the brain that renders your best intentions ineffectual. But when you admit that your best intentions are unequal to the task and surrender to the reality of your addiction, you open yourself up to other possibilities. Surrendering does not mean giving up. On the contrary, it means you now have the freedom to move beyond your own will and ego.

The 2nd Principle: Hope

Looking around, it’s evident that people can recover from even the most severe addictions. And it’s also obvious that they received help from someone or something beyond their own will. For lack of a better term, this someone or something is usually called a “Higher Power.” Everyone envisions their own personal Higher Power differently, some in these ways:

  • The God of your comprehension and understanding
  • Fate
  • Humanity
  • The universe
  • Medical science
  • Other people who have achieved successful addiction recovery

This final example may inspire you the most because it proves proper recovery is possible.

The 3rd Principle: Commitment

If your addiction is beyond your poor power to control and your Higher Power can help you recover, your only real option is to get out of your way. Resist the temptation to return to your old way of things because you think you know better.

The 4th Principle: Honesty

People often don’t want to admit their dishonest or hurtful behaviors while actively drug-seeking. But if addiction is a disease that promotes dysfunctional behaviors, proper recovery must mean addressing those character flaws.

The 5th Principle: Truth

The truth is, confessing painful truths terrifies many people new to recovery. From a practical standpoint, honestly admitting your wrongs to another person is a way to protect your recovery from one of the biggest problematic behaviors—self-delusion.

The 6th Principle: Willingness

Willingness is your decision to stop holding back. In some ways, it is an extension of the Principle of surrender guiding the 1st Step. In other words, it means having hope and faith that your Higher Power has you on the right path.

The 7th Principle: Humility

During the conception of the 12 Steps, humility was more about having the proper perception of one’s self. By recognizing how addiction controlled your life, you can better understand the work necessary to distance yourself from your disease.

The 8th Principle: Reflection

The 8th Step requires reflection on the consequences of your behaviors. Listing all the people harmed by your addiction-driven actions is a sobering exercise as you give real thought to your impact on everyone around you.

The 9th Principle: Amendment

The Principle of amendment underscores how important it is to make a real effort to correct any mistakes you have made. The weight of your guilt can slow your progress and even lead directly to relapse. Making amends relieves you of that guilt.

The 10th Principle: Vigilance

By reaching the 10th Step, you will feel a justifiable accomplishment. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to become complacent. Vigilance means constant self-appraisal, where you repeatedly examine your thoughts, feelings, motives, and actions to ensure you are not harming others or yourself. But it also means to persevere—to continue working on your recovery program, even when it’s hard.

The 11th Principle: Attunement

The Principle of attunement prompts you to remember the positive lessons you have learned and remain receptive to recovery messages. These messages can come in any form and from any source. But to hear those messages, you have to be listening.

The 12th Principle: Service

The Principle of service is a powerful culmination of everything that has come before. For example, imagine how much you would benefit if you were more honest, humble, and vigilant in your professional life or how your relationships would blossom if they were filled with hope and commitment.

Find 12-Step-Based Addiction Treatment in Idaho at Northpoint Recovery

If you or someone you care about would like to have the 12 Steps of AA explained or would like to overcome addiction by following the 12-Step Principles of Recovery, contact Northpoint Recovery today at 208.486.0130 to learn more about the 12 AA Principles and how our addiction treatment programs use them to help our patients.