The twelve steps program has been changed and amended many times since it’s original foundation, to assist in a range of problems. I know it’s used by mental health group programs too.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the first twelve-step fellowship, was founded on August 11, 1938 (although some speculate the date as being June 10, 1935 which is the date that Dr. Bob had his last drink) by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, known to AA members as “Bill W.” and “Dr. Bob”, in Akron, Ohio. They established the tradition within the “anonymous” twelve-step programs of using only first names “at the level of press, radio and film”.
As AA was growing in the 1930s and 1940s, definite guiding principles began to emerge as the Twelve Traditions. A singleness of purpose emerged as Tradition Five: “Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” Consequently, drug addicts who do not suffer from the specifics of alcoholism involved in AA hoping for recovery technically are not welcome in “closed” meetings unless they have a desire to stop drinking alcohol. The reason for such emphasis on alcoholism as the problem is to overcome denial and distraction. Thus the principles of AA have been used to form many numbers of other fellowships for those recovering from various pathologies, each of which in turn emphasizes recovery from the specific malady which brought the sufferer into the fellowship.
In 1953 AA gave permission for Narcotics Anonymous to use its Steps and Traditions.
These are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:
1.We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—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 alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.