Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step program. Each of these steps is simplified by the use of a worksheet. They provide a way of enabling people to consider as much detail as possible in each of these important steps.
We provide several worksheets to help people on the path to sobriety and the spiritual awakening necessary to continue to stay sober. These can be a great resource as we move through this recovery program. We provide some worksheets here and will continue to add more. But let's look at the worksheets and their purpose.
The steps of Alcoholics Anonymous can be divided into four phases each containing three steps.
Phase 1 - Accepting Our Condition
This first phase brings us from acknowledging we have a problem with alcohol abuse to the point where we come to understand that there is only one to deal with it.
Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
This step is the most critical in moving to a better life. It is the first time we confront the fact that we can’t manage our lives.
This worksheet explores the why of how we came to this admission and looks at what shows our lives are unmanageable.
Step 2 -- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
This worksheet aims to examine three things and in doing so initiates our conscious contact with God. These are:
What our Higher Power is like or would be like if we are agnostic or atheist.
What our understanding of sanity is and our perception of its value.
Why relying on a higher power is necessary to achieve sanity.
Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
During step 2, we became aware of a Higher Power and now we reach out to that Higher Power. This is the beginning of our spiritual experience.
The worksheet for this step is a simple invitation to reflection that culminates in confirming the decision we have just made.
Phase 2 - Reviewing Our Past
Critical to staying sober is the achievement of emotional sobriety. This phase can be terrifying, but the end results are catharsis and freedom from your former self.
Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
This step takes time, and we often need to conquer hesitation. The worksheet contains multiple sections. These sections deal with:
There is often an overlap between 2 or more of the sections.
Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
This is intimidating. We sit down with someone, typically our sponsor, and review what we revealed about ourselves in step 4.
This worksheet is simple. It is a list of what we admitted and a space for notes that we can make based on any discussions that arise from the conversation.
Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
The worksheet for this step helps us list our character defects, the effects that these character flaws have and provides the details of the change we expect to happen as we allow God to remove them. The intent of this worksheet is to provide encouragement by letting us have a glimpse of the future as we consign these things to the past.
Phase 3 - Correcting Our Ways
Now that we have reviewed our past and the problems that affected our drinking and were in turn affected by our alcohol abuse., we move, in this phase, to dealing with these issues.
Step 7 - 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
This is similar to the step 5 worksheet. It is a list of each shortcoming that we ask our Higher Power, in faith, to remove.
Step – 8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
We can draw on some of the information we set out in the step four worksheet. We list the person and the harm we have done them. People may well appear several times.
Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
This sheet expands on the 8th step worksheet. We name the person and give details of the event we need to make amends for. It is critical that we understand what feelings we had and what motivated us to do what we did.
It helps us understand ourselves and also enables us to answer the question, “Why?” if the person we are making amends to asks that. The step imposes a condition on making direct amends - except when to do so would injure them or others and we need to decide whether to make direct amends to them based on this possibility. The comments portion of this worksheet allows us to comment on anything such as why they would be harmed by direct amends or things we should say when talking to such people.
It is possible that we can use this condition to avoid dealing with the persons we had harmed. For this reason, we need to show this to our sponsor and have our sponsor call us out in possible avoidance.
Phase 4 - Maintaining Our Sobriety
We have done it and through the difficult last two phases, we have made gigantic strides towards emotional sobriety. Remember the 9th step promises begin and end with a contract
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development we will be amazed before we are halfway through.
They will materialize if we work for them.
But now we deal with the issue of maintaining the victory that, with the help of our higher power, we have achieved over alcohol. This takes place through daily reflection and constant self-evaluation. That is the hallmark of the worksheets of this phase.
Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
This worksheet contains two tables to help us reflect on the fears as well as the emotions and defects of the day.
Step 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.
This is a simple journal, really. It provides space to record the thoughts and feelings that come to us in our times of prayer and meditation.
Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
This too is a journal. How have we carried the message and to whom? How can we carry the message?
Using The Sheets
The key to each step of this simple program is being completely honest. The Big Book places honesty as being the most important part of our ability to achieve and sustain recovery.
Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.
It reinforces this when it says
There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
As a result, for each step, there can be no evasion of any fact. In practical terms, any time we try and duck the reality of how we were when we were drinking is a lie to ourselves and a barrier to a better life. We are at the end of the day the historians of our own personal experience and if these steps do not reflect that experience accurately or completely, no matter how hard it may be, then we do ourselves a disservice.
This means that each step should not be rushed. The finish line is getting to the 12th step as well as you can. There is no prize for speed and no prize for being incomplete or evasive.
These are all printable step worksheets and as already stated while not all are currently available, we are working to provide a complete set of sheets. These sheets are excellent learning tools when we consider that one of their purposes is to help us learn about ourselves and what needs to change to become sober and stay happily sober. They are provided to help people achieve what they intended when they first started coming to A.A. meetings.
The role of the sponsor is crucial here. They have been through the process and are veterans. Better than us, as new entrants to the quest for sobriety, they know the pitfalls that we can encounter at each step and know the result of these steps.
Good friends call us out and sometimes we need our sponsor to do that. By recording everything in writing, we give our sponsor an insight into what we are thinking and feeling. If we share these sheets with our sponsors, we make their roles easier and their advice better. That only helps us achieve better outcomes.
A final thought here at the end. Once you have completed a worksheet, keep it. There are times when going back over them can remind us how far we have come. They are also a record of our journey.
Note: Except where specified all quotes are from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous