The History of The Steps

The original Step programme was pioneered by the founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s.
They are based around The Oxford Group Principles and have origins with Biblical scripture and in particular the Beatitudes found within ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew 5-7).

As the original Steps were based on scripture they made clear reference to ‘God’. However despite the programme being extremely successful, it was felt by some that the concept of God may be difficult to accept or comprehend, and may deter some individuals from taking part . Some of the wording was subsequently modified to ‘A Higher Power, a God of the individuals understanding’.

It is the revised terminology that has been widely adopted and is now the foundation for many other recovery programmes.

Programmes tend to be organized around autonomous local groups, where people who desire help meet regularly to support each other and work through the Steps. There are now in excess of 200 recovery organisations world-wide who utilise the Steps and the majority of groups are free to attend, non-commercial and open to anyone suffering from a particular affliction – for example, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings are usually open to anyone with a desire to stop drinking. and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings are usually open to anyone with a desire to stop substance abuse including alcohol.

In 1991 a recovering alcoholic felt that the steps could be applied to provide help to numerous other conditions and that there was a need to re-establish the faith element within the programme. This led to the beginning of Celebrate Recovery which is now one of the 3 largest recovery groups in the world operating in over 35,000 churches with over 5,000,000 participants and is the only recovery group to have separate recovery groups for younger members.

Learn more about the different versions of The Steps: 8 Steps & 12 Steps