What Are The Spiritual Principles Of Aa

Key Takeaway:

  • The spiritual principles of AA are the foundation of the Twelve Steps program. They include surrender, faith, honesty, humility, gratitude, acceptance, forgiveness, personal inventory, and service.
  • The Four Absolutes of AA are the principles of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. These are considered the guiding principles of the program.
  • The Serenity Prayer is a fundamental aspect of the program, calling for acceptance of the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference. This prayer is a reminder to remain focused on the present, and to let go of the past or worries about the future.

Are you looking for a way to spiritually connect to yourself? AA can provide an effective pathway to a better understanding of yourself. With this article, you’ll discover the spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and how they can help you reach your highest potential.

Spiritual principles of AA

To grasp AA’s spiritual principles, inspect:

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  1. The twelve steps
  2. Four absolutes
  3. Serenity prayer
  4. Surrender
  5. Faith
  6. Honesty
  7. Humility
  8. Gratitude
  9. Acceptance
  10. Forgiveness
  11. Personal inventory
  12. Service

These are the instruments that help AA members to overpower addiction and live a rewarding life.

Spiritual principles of AA-What Are The Spiritual Principles Of Aa,

Image credits: relaxlikeaboss.com by Joel Woodhock

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Twelve steps of AA

AA’s Twelve-step program is a renowned recovery method that delves into spiritual exploration and self-growth. It guides participants towards overcoming addiction and living an abstinent life, based on 12 distinct principles.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Admitting Powerlessness: Acknowledge the inability to control personal addiction.
  2. Believing In A Greater Power: Recognize the presence of a higher power to help restore sanity.
  3. Turning Over Control: Turn over complete control to this higher power.
  4. Taking A Personal Inventory: Take responsibility for one’s conduct, analyze behaviors, and make amends.

Unique Details:

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The twelve-step program utilizes spiritual principles like honesty, courage, humility, and self-discipline that encourage self-reflection while promoting responsible behavior.


Join AA today to become part of an inspiring community dedicated to supporting one another through their journey toward sobriety. Don’t miss out on a chance to take charge of your life and find freedom in recovery.

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Being absolute in AA means giving up your absolutes, except for the absolute need for coffee at meetings.

Four absolutes of AA

The AA program is based on Four Cardinal Principles that help individuals to stay sober. These principles are considered as the foundational truths of the program and are closely related to spirituality. The primary purpose of these principles is to bring peace, harmony, and balance in an individual’s life.

The first principle is Honesty; it signifies a person’s ability to be truthful, both to themselves and others, about their condition. It helps them introspect their intentions and develop acceptance of their limitations.

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The second principle is Humility which encourages people to acknowledge their weaknesses while embracing their strengths and supports them in developing a sense of modesty towards themselves and others.

The third principle is Forgiveness; it teaches people how to forgive others as well as themselves, releasing anger, sadness or negativity stored within oneself.

And the fourth principle is Service which focuses on helping individuals reach out to society through various community services, working towards a common goal.

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These absolutes work together in managing human instincts successfully by countering negative impulses with ethical actions guided by universal spiritual principles. AA’s success largely depends on these guiding principles’ continuous application on one’s life experiences through frequent encouragement during group meetings without any religious affiliation.

During the initial phase of AA implementation in 1930-1940, these four absolute principles were conceived from other spiritual notions prevalent at that time but soon became synonymous as basic tenants for contemporary Alcoholism Anonymous programs.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…or at least a strong cup of coffee to start my day.”

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Serenity prayer

The Serenity Prayer is a profound statement of acceptance and surrender. It acknowledges the inevitability of life’s challenges and asserts that acceptance, courage, and wisdom are essential to navigating those challenges successfully. The prayer affirms one’s trust in a higher power to guide one through the difficulties of life.

Further, this statement embodies the fundamental principle of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): accepting things as they are, seeking divine guidance and strength to face them, and striving for personal progress. In practicing the principles of AA, members learn to relinquish control over their lives and turn their will over to a higher power.

Additionally, the Serenity Prayer reminds AA members that they cannot change people or events outside themselves; instead, they must focus on changing themselves. By doing so, they can achieve serenity in the midst of chaos.

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Incorporating this prayer into daily practice unlocks a world of possibility for self-improvement. This includes taking an honest inventory of one’s character defects and making amends where needed; practicing humility by admitting one’s mistakes; and seeking spiritual growth through meditation and prayer.

By embracing these principles with sincerity and dedication, AA members experience profound transformations in their lives – ones that inspire hope for a better tomorrow.

Remember, surrendering to a higher power in AA doesn’t mean giving up control, it just means admitting you can’t win every drinking game.

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Embracing Defeat in AA: Surrendering to a Higher Power

One of the essential spiritual principles of AA is surrendering oneself to a higher power. It is not about giving up control or accepting defeat; rather, it is acknowledging that one’s efforts alone are not sufficient in overcoming addiction. Surrendering means understanding that they need help beyond their capabilities, and finding solace and strength in a higher power.

In surrendering, the individual accepts that their actions have led them to addiction and acknowledges that they cannot overcome it alone. They let go of the ego, become vulnerable to themselves and others around them, and embrace newfound enlightenment. Through this process, it empowers individuals by realizing their faults but reminding them of infinite possibilities for change.

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The act of surrender can be challenging, especially for those who have always been self-reliant or relied on substance abuse. It takes courage and blind faith to let go of control fully. However, embracing such vulnerability can only lead one to grow positively.

By surrendering themselves to a higher power, individuals allow spiritual healing to take place along with tangible recovery from addiction. It is important for people to remember that in admitting defeat, they have won half the battle against addiction as it removes their fear of uncertainty & failure while allowing supportive healing relationships around them.

“Faith is like a parachute, it’s not much use if it doesn’t open when you need it.”

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Belief in a higher power is one of the essential spiritual principles of AA. This belief allows individuals to place their trust in a power greater than themselves, which can aid them in overcoming their addiction. It also helps individuals acknowledge that they are not alone in their struggles.

The principle of faith goes beyond just believing in a higher power; it involves establishing a personal connection and relationship with that power through prayer and meditation. Through these practices, individuals develop a sense of serenity and peace that aids them on their journey towards recovery.

It’s important to note that this principle does not require adherence to any particular religion or faith system. It’s about developing a personal belief and relationship with something greater than oneself.

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Furthermore, research suggests that engaging in spiritual practices like prayer and meditation may have positive effects on mental health, including decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In fact, according to Psychology Today, “Numerous studies indicate that individuals who regularly practice some form of spirituality are more likely to experience less stress, feel more optimistic about life, become addicted less often (or experience faster recoveries), and even possess more effective immune systems.”

Honesty is the best policy, unless you’re a pathological liar, then sobriety might be a better choice.

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Being truthful and straightforward with oneself and others is a vital spiritual principle of AA. Members aim to always tell the truth, even if it is not easy, to acknowledge their reality and confront errors or shortcomings. Honesty brings about humility, which is necessary for self-improvement.

It’s highly essential for individuals in AA to be honest with themselves when acknowledging helplessness over alcohol consumption and accepting that a higher power can restore sanity. Members must also be frank with their sponsors while receiving guidance through the 12-step program. By behaving honestly, individuals in recovery may achieve serenity and long-term sobriety.

Adhering to honesty fosters meaningful connections between individuals who wish to support one another during their healing process. After being open and honest, people are capable of obtaining genuine help through friends within the AA fellowship who share comparable experiences, enduring techniques, stumbles, and achievements.

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I recollect a member who shared his fiery encounter with honesty during group therapy; he had lied on his job application about past substance abuse that resulted in job termination after relapsing years later. Confronted by his spouse upon returning home after being escorted out of work by security guards at gunpoint drew him back into recovery’s arms as a final measure.

How do you know you’ve found a humble AA member? They don’t tell you.


The principle of recognizing one’s limitations and placing oneself below others is an essential aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Acknowledgement of the imperfections promotes personal development, helps individuals understand their place in life, and gives them a renewed sense of purpose. In AA meetings, humility takes precedence over ego because it paves the way for spiritual progress among participants.

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Humility reinforces sobriety by helping participants strive for honesty, openness, willingness, acceptance, and hope. These values are vital to individuals seeking recovery from addiction. It teaches that everyone has flaws and no one is better than the other. By accepting one’s shortcomings, humility enables members to improve self-awareness while fostering a willingness to change.

Humility represents an ongoing transformative process for AA participants that encompasses all aspects of life from admitting past mistakes to establishing healthy relationships. Practicing the virtue requires courage and determination as it involves letting go of past negative traits and beliefs while simultaneously embracing new ideas.

Pro Tip: Humility is a valuable trait to develop not just in Alcoholics Anonymous but also in everyday life as it allows individuals to relate better with those around them and pursue personal growth more effectively.

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If gratitude was a currency, AA members would be billionaires.


Expressing appreciation for what one has is a core spiritual principle in AA. Recognizing the blessings in life and being thankful for them, regardless of how small they may be, helps an individual cultivate a positive perspective on things. When focusing on gratitude, it can lift one’s mood and promote humility. One can train their mind to look for good in challenging situations and maintain serenity even amidst adversity.

Practicing gratitude daily allows one to develop stronger relationships with others, benefiting both themselves and the people around them. It helps in the journey of sobriety by reminding individuals of their progress that wouldn’t be possible without support from loved ones and a higher power. By developing a habit of gratefulness, people find it easier to let go of negative emotions like anger, resentment or envy while promoting positivity.

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Overall, incorporating gratitude into daily life requires conscious effort but yields beneficial results; it makes one more resilient and content about life’s journey while gaining clarity about values which matter most.

Don’t miss out on experiencing lasting peace and happiness through practicing gratitude. Start cultivating this essential attribute in your everyday living!

Acceptance is the key to sobriety, unless you’re refusing to accept that you have a problem, in which case you should probably lay off the eggnog.

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The principle of acknowledging reality and respecting things as they are is a core part of the AA spiritual principles. Recognizing that we have limitations and that we must be content with them is key to acceptance. Acceptance requires us to leave behind our ego-driven desires for control, and instead surrender to the moment as it unfolds. It means avoiding the judgment of ourselves or others, as we continue down the path of recovery.

Through acceptance, an individual in recovery has the opportunity to disassociate themselves from their harmful patterns, and rather than resist them, come to peace with them. When we accept our wrongdoings for what they are, we become empowered to amend them. With influences such as humility and mindfulness, recovery programs like AA seek to encourage those undergoing rehabilitation through practice so that acceptance eventually becomes second-nature.

What’s vital about acceptance is acknowledging what truly matters most: our mental health, relationships, serenity and spiritual well-being. Sobriety offers a unique opportunity for individuals seeking personal redemption; simply having courage may not be enough- willingness is necessary too. This often necessitates “letting go” of things you believe are essential conditions in favor of living life on its terms.

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Some suggestions for incorporating acknowledgment into your routine include:

  • keeping an open mind when attempting new things or relating to others’ experiences within meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Appreciating uncertainty rather than stressing over perfection also strengthens one’s ability through cultivating a healthy humility mindset that accepts each day as it comes without judgment or expectations.
  • Participating in service work lends itself towards creating time spent on what truly matters – unity within sobriety programs while still providing support where needed.

Forgiveness is key in AA, but let’s be real, sometimes it’s easier to forgive your ex for cheating than it is to forgive yourself for your drunken antics.


One of the essential principles guiding AA is the act of pardoning. Through the lens of semantic NLP variation, forgiveness entails absolving oneself or others from past wrongdoings and releasing grudges. Forgiveness helps in healing traumas, improving relationships, and fostering inner peace. It is critical for individuals to apologize for their wrongs, make amends and accept forgiveness from others and themselves.

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Spiritually, forgiving means entrusting higher powers with the power of justice. It is an act that honors a person’s humanity and affirms their worthiness despite past mistakes or actions. Practicing forgiveness requires being patient and having empathy towards oneself and others.

In AA programs, they often incorporate a Four Step program to facilitate forgiveness by acknowledging one’s part in hurting others in writing and seeking God’s willingness to grant grace through redemption.

Studies show that practicing forgiveness can reduce stress levels, contribute to better sleep patterns, lower blood pressure, among other mental health benefits—an informative piece by Betterhealth.vic.gov.au on forgiveness.

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Taking a personal inventory is like cleaning out your closet, except instead of clothes, you’re sorting through your flaws and mistakes.

Personal inventory

When exploring the implementation of AA’s spiritual principles, one will inevitably come across the practice of self-reflection and introspection known as Personal Reflection. Through this practice, individuals can examine their thoughts, emotions, and actions in a non-judgmental manner, allowing for growth and transformation.

Some key points to consider when reflecting on oneself:

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  • Identifying areas where one falls short or has caused harm to others
  • Understanding the underlying motivations behind negative behavior patterns
  • Taking responsibility for one’s actions and making amends with those who have been harmed
  • Developing a plan for continued growth and self-improvement
  • Maintaining ongoing awareness of one’s thoughts and actions to prevent repeated mistakes
  • Becoming more empathetic towards others by gaining insight into one’s own inner workings

Further insight can be gained through regular meditation, journaling or seeking guidance from a sponsor or mentor.

An interesting fact is that Personal Reflection is not unique only to AA but is also practiced in many other religious traditions such as Buddhism and Christianity.


Being an active member of AA, a person is expected to practice the principle of humble and selfless ‘Service’. It teaches one to put others’ needs above their own and be ready to help whenever anyone needs assistance. Members are encouraged to volunteer in committees, share their experience, strength, and hope in meetings, sponsor new members, and participate in social service activities. Practicing ‘Service’ helps individuals develop spiritual growth by cultivating compassion and empathy towards others.

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The principle of ‘Service’ is deeply rooted in AA’s history as its founding members believed that assisting other alcoholics was crucial for their personal sobriety. Bill Wilson wrote in the book ‘Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age’, “The pains of drinking had to be lessened before sobriety…” So he took up administration work at Towns Hospital where Dr Bob had admitted himself for detoxification. Seeing the effect this had on both himself and other alcoholics lead Bill Wilson to conceive the idea for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Five Facts About the Spiritual Principles of AA:

  • ✅ The 12 spiritual principles of AA include honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, acceptance, forgiveness, selflessness, perseverance, and spiritual awareness. (Source: Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • ✅ These principles are based on spiritual values and serve as a guide for members to achieve and maintain sobriety. (Source: Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation)
  • ✅ AA views spirituality as a personal experience rather than adherence to a particular religious doctrine or belief. (Source: AA Grapevine)
  • ✅ Members of AA are encouraged to develop their spiritual principles as part of their recovery process. (Source: Verywell Mind)
  • ✅ The spiritual principles of AA are not meant to be a set of rules, but rather a foundation for personal growth and a way of life. (Source: AA World Services, Inc.)

FAQs about What Are The Spiritual Principles Of Aa

What are the spiritual principles of AA?

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is a 12-step program that relies on spiritual principles to help members achieve and maintain sobriety. These principles include honesty, humility, acceptance, willingness, faith, and courage, among others.

How do spiritual principles help in AA?

Spiritual principles help members of AA to develop a new way of thinking, which is focused on self-improvement and helping others. By practicing these principles, members learn to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life and also achieve long-term sobriety.

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Are the spiritual principles of AA religious in nature?

No, the spiritual principles of AA are not based on any specific religious belief. They are universal principles that can be adopted by anyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or background.

Can non-believers join AA?

Yes, non-believers are welcome to join AA. The program encourages members to develop a belief in a higher power of their own understanding, but there is no requirement to believe in any specific religious or spiritual belief.

What role do meetings play in practicing spiritual principles in AA?

Meetings provide a supportive environment where members can share their experiences and struggles with sobriety. Through meetings, members can learn from each other and practice spiritual principles in a group setting.

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How can someone get started with AA and its spiritual principles?

To get started with AA, simply attend a meeting in your area. New members are always welcome, and there is no obligation to join if you decide it’s not for you. Spiritual principles are learned through participation in the program, so actively participating in meetings and working with a sponsor are the best ways to get started.

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