With the coming of AA, millions of alcoholics, otherwise hopeless, have found their way back to sanity. But there is far greater lifesaving power in the principles of AA than has yet been widely recognized because what is involved is the practice of the ethical and spiritual principles common to all humankind and applicable to all humankind.

The original Program of Alcoholics Anonymous consisted of the Four Absolutes, later formulated by AA as the Twelve Step Program. The Absolutes were the foundation on which the Steps were built. This original Program was a world-shaker. This is the Program by which co-founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith got sober — by which the famous first hundred AAs recovered — by which the whole movement was launched, in the United States and Canada, and worldwide.

The Twelve Steps first appeared in the book which greatly unified the early Fellowship and gave the movement its name, Alcoholics Anonymous. Written in 1939, the AA “Big Book” transformed the fledgling society of 100 members into a uniquely effective international recovery movement and one of the great forces of our time for spiritual conversion and life change. The Twelve Steps are the most effective and most widely applied statement for successful recovery work in modern times, and one of the greatest working statements of the spiritual life of all times. From the standpoint of the whole world of recovery from addiction, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the Twelve Steps. It is this Program which has been responsible for the great majority of recoveries from addiction and continues to be the mainstay of all major recovery work to the present time.

The Twelve Steps, however, were not written alone but in tandem with a set of life-saving directions (known in AAA as the Ten Points) which appeared in the fifth chapter of the AA Big Book. The Ten Points illustrate in the simplest language possible how to transform the Steps from a set of instructions into a way of life which works. For those with the tendency to hedge their bet on the Program and for the many who are sober-but-still-miserable the Ten Points provide the thrust necessary to break through the ceiling of compromised and diluted Program practice into the realm of direct God consciousness and spiritual awakening.

Over the years, as it turns out, a remarkable discovery has been made. It has been found that, when taken together, all these original AA principles are effective in producing recoveries not only from addictive drinking but also from many other forms of addictive behavior, including both the substance addictions and the mental addictions. Consequently it is now possible to have one Program which works equally well for all addicts and all addictions, and especially for the many persons who are fighting more than one addiction at the same time.

And so the Four Absolutes, the Twelve Steps, and the Ten Points — as adapted for all addicts and all addictions — are now called the All Addicts Anonymous Program.

The Four Absolutes

The Four Absolutes are the time-tested moral and ethical code of the All Addicts Anonymous Program. Used in the Oxford Group and in the pioneering years of Alcoholics Anonymous, these lifesaving principles, in one form or another, have actually been the foundation of the moral and spiritual life of humankind in all ages and in all civilizations. The Absolutes give you the wisdom, the spiritual know-how and skill to live and work; to relate sanely and joyfully to people, to other creatures, and to God. They can teach you to recognize and obey that which is real and right and good and true above and beyond the sick and insufficient wants and dreams compatible with addictive living. The Absolutes of course are not claims of attainment. They are aims for daily conduct. When they are maintained faithfully as goals, they become powerful transformers of conduct, character, and consciousness.

  1. Absolute honesty – non-lying to oneself or others; unbending faithfulness to the truth in thought, word, and action.
  2. Absolute purity – purity of mind, purity of body, purity of the emotions, purity of heart, sexual purity.
  3. Absolute unselfishness – seeking what is right and true in every situation, above what I want.
  4. Absolute love – loving God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

The Twelve Steps

The Twelve Steps are a unique phenomenon in our age — a set of spiritual action directions, things to do for the actual attainment of spiritual awakening, a way which leads to conscious contact with God. Their peculiar genius is that they do not require special skill or learning; they work for people in all degrees of mental, emotional, and spiritual disability. If an addict who is sincerely seeking a way out had no other tool than a working knowledge of the Steps, he or she would have a very good chance of recovery. Do not let the simple language in which they are stated fool you. They are a spiritual powerhouse to which millions of addicts now walking the streets as free men and women owe their lives and their liberty.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Ten Points

The Ten Points represent the spiritual inspiration and guidance for approaching the Twelve Steps as given by the first hundred AA members. These original commitments are the spiritual legacy and heritage of the first men and women whose sacrifice, wisdom, and trial-and-error experience became solidified in the “How it Works” chapter of the AA Big Book. For many addicts, lesser commitments to the Program do not offer the crucial momentum necessary to reach the level of spiritual awakening required to attain true freedom. Make no mistake about it, every person who adopts the rigor and intensity of the Ten Points will be rocketed into a new dimension of existence.

We commit ourselves to work toward recovery and spiritual awakening through sincerely and responsibly trying to do what the AA Big Book suggests by:

  1. Completely giving ourselves to this simple Program
  2. Practicing rigorous honesty
  3. Being willing to go to any lengths to recover
  4. Realizing that there is no easier, softer way
  5. Being fearless and thorough in our practice of the principles
  6. Letting go of our old ideas absolutely
  7. Recognizing that half measures will not work
  8. Asking God’s protection and care with complete abandon
  9. Being willing to grow along spiritual lines
  10. Accepting the following pertinent ideas as proved by All Addicts Anonymous experience:

(A) That you cannot manage your own life
(B) That probably no human power can restore you to sanity
(C) That God can and will if sought

The All Addicts Anonymous Program is a thoroughly tested and proven answer to addiction — but its healing power extends very far beyond that sphere. AAA experience proves that any addict — with any and all combinations of addictions — can attain spiritual awakening, self-control, sanity, peace, and joy if he or she will go to sufficient lengths in adopting the Four Absolutes, the Twelve Steps, and the Ten Points as a way of life.