This section describes one method for taking the Twelve Steps of
help us work the Twelve Steps, Cocaine Anonymous uses a text entitled
Anonymous, commonly referred to as "the
Big Book." When studying this text, some of us find it useful
to substitute the word "cocaine" for "alcohol" and
the word "using" for "drinking," although in
the process, some of us discovered that we are alcoholics as well
Because some of our members believe there are ways to take the steps
other than the method described in the Big Book, we suggest that
the reader seek guidance from a sponsor, an experienced C.A. member,
or their Higher Power, to help them decide on the method that is
right for them.
This pamphlet is not a substitute for using the Big Book and a sponsor.
Its purpose is to shed light on the twelve-step program in the Big
Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, as it relates to our addiction.
the Twelve Steps prepares us to have a "spiritual awakening" or
a "spiritual experience" (page 569 in Alcoholics Anonymous).
These phrases refer to the change in our thinking, attitudes, and
outlook that occurs after taking the steps. This change frees us
from active addiction.
Applying the steps in our daily lives enables us to establish and
improve our conscious contact with God or our Higher Power. Many
in our fellowship believe that the greatest safeguard in preventing
relapse lies in consistent application of the Twelve Steps.
often ask, "When should I take the steps?" Page
34 of the Big Book states, "Some of them will be drunk [high]
the day after making their resolutions [not to use again], most of
them within a few weeks." The choice, ultimately, is up to the
reader of this pamphlet, but a full understanding of Step One can
often provide the willingness necessary to take the other eleven
We admitted we were powerless over cocaine and all other mind-altering
substances- that our lives had become unmanageable.
Our powerlessness operates on three levels: (1) A physical allergy
to cocaine, which makes it virtually impossible for us to stop using
once we start; (2) A mental obsession, which makes it impossible
to stay sober permanently on our own (pages 24 and 34); and (3) A
spiritual malady, which separates us from our Higher Power's ability
to get and keep us sober
Many of us assumed that Step One meant we couldn't get high anymore
because we couldn't handle using at all. In fact, it really means
that barring divine intervention, we are unable to stay away from
that first hit, line, or whatever (pages 24 and 34) and that we will
use again and again, no matter how much we want to stay sober.
second part of Step One refers to how we are unable to manage our
when we are sober. One example of this unmanageability
is being "restless, irritable, and discontented" (page
xxvi; other examples are found in the second paragraph of page 52).
Step One is the foundation of the entire twelve-step process. Without
a full understanding of what this step means to us personally, we
can't expect to make much progress on the other eleven steps. For
more information, study Dr. Bob's experience on pages xvi and 155.
(Dr. Bob was one of A.A.'s co-founders.)
useful questions for deciding whether we are really addicts are, "Can I stop permanently if and when I want to?" and, "Can
I control the amount I use once I start?" If the answer is "No" to
either question, we probably are addicts, according to the Big Book.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore
us to sanity.
When we understand Step One and are convinced that we are addicts
(page 30), we are ready for Step Two. Coming to believe in a Higher
Power's ability to restore us to sanity does not require that we
believe in God. All we need is an open mind and a willingness to
believe that there is a power greater than ourselves (pages 46 and
Many of us come to Cocaine Anonymous without any religious or spiritual
experience, yet are able to make a start towards what the concept
of a Higher Power might mean to us. Some of us use the C.A. group
as a Higher Power until we can develop a concept of our own. Any
concept, no matter how inadequate we believe it to be at the time,
is enough to make a start with Step Two (page 46).
insanity referred to in Step Two is the part of our thinking that
us to convince ourselves that we can successfully use
again. Once this "mental obsession" takes hold, we are
compelled to use over and over again, regardless of the consequences
that we know will follow. It is this vicious cycle that helps us
become willing to believe that perhaps a power greater than ourselves
can restore us to sanity (page 48). Being convinced of the "three
pertinent ideas" (the A,B,C's on page 60) brings us to Step
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care
of God as we understood Him.
Step Three, we make a decision to turn our will and our lives over
of our concept of God at the time. The first requirement
is becoming convinced that "any life run on self will could
hardly be a success" (page 60). That text illustrates the meaning
of a life run on self will by describing the behavior of an actor
who wants to run the whole show. Many of us find it useful to substitute
our own names in this passage and to ask ourselves honestly whether
this scenario doesn't sound similar to the way we are running our
own lives (pages 60-62). The text further suggests that this kind
of self-centeredness is "the root of our troubles" (page
62). After we understand what running our lives based on self-will
means and acknowledge its futility, we are asked to do the "Third
Step Prayer" (or its equivalent) on page 63, before going on
to Step Four.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step Four, we examine the wreckage that is accumulating from our
to run the show and the things that have been blocking
us from our Higher Power. By completing and analyzing our inventory
(page 70), we are able to see where our natural instincts for money,
sex, power, and prestige have gone out of control, as we attempt
to satisfy them in selfish and self-centered ways (page 62). The
inventory involves looking at the people we resent (page 64-67),
the things we are afraid of (pages 67-68), and the people we have
harmed through our misconduct. Step Four enables us to discover,
own, and begin to be freed from the "bondage of self" described
in the Third Step Prayer.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact
nature of our wrongs.
Step Five, we share our fourth-step inventory with the person of
(usually our sponsor) and continue to discover "the
exact nature of our wrongs." By taking this step, we are able
to identify areas where we have allowed our selfishness, our instincts,
and our fears to control us. Sharing our inventory allows another
human being to help us examine problems that we are unable to understand
by ourselves (page 72). After completing Step Five, it is suggested
that we go home and review the first five steps of the program and
our inventory to see whether we need to add any resentments, fears,
or persons we have harmed (page 75). We ask ourselves whether we
have withheld anything in our inventory. Have we illuminated "every
twist of character, every dark cranny of the past" (page 75)?
If so, we are ready for Step Six.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
reviewing our "shortcomings," we ask ourselves whether
we find these defects of character undesirable and whether we believe
God can remove them all. If we feel there are defects we're not willing
to let go of, the Big Book suggests that we pray for the willingness
to have them removed (page 76).
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
When Step Six is complete, we say the Seventh Step Prayer to have
our shortcomings removed by God as we understand God (page 76).
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make
amends to them all.
In Step Eight, we list all the people we have harmed, and we pray
for the willingness to make amends to them all. Most of the amends
we need to make are disclosed in the resentment inventory (page 67)
and our sexual inventory (pages 68-70). We also include anyone else
we have harmed who isn't listed in our fourth-step inventory.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when
to do so would injure them or others.
In Step Nine, we make amends to the people we have harmed. The Big
Book gives us examples for how to go about making these actual amends
(pages 76-83). Counsel from one's sponsor, as well as from others
who've had experience applying this step, is also helpful in showing
us how to repair the damage we've caused in the past.
It is through Step Nine that we're freed from the guilt, fear, shame,
and remorse that results from the harm we've done others. Taking
this step helps us "to fit ourselves to be of maximum service
to God and the people about us" (page 77).
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
Having taken the first eight steps and made a beginning on Step
Nine, we find ourselves at Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve. Although
the Twelve Steps are designed to be taken in order, it is suggested
that we take Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve on a daily basis, while
making our ninth-step amends.
last three steps encompass much of the first nine steps in their
and application. Step Ten involves continuing to take personal
inventory and setting right any new wrongs as we go along. The Big
Book teaches us that when our shortcomings "crop up," we
deal with them by using Step Ten (page 84). The main purpose of Step
Ten is to prevent us from being blocked off again from God, whose
power ultimately keeps us sober (page 64).
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.
There are many definitions of prayer and meditation, and a detailed
discussion is not practical within the confines of this pamphlet.
Some basic suggestions, on pages 86-88 of the text, outline a daily
and nightly routine we can apply to allow God to monitor and direct
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we
tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles
in all our affairs.
Having taken the first eleven steps, we are now at Step Twelve and
are ready to carry the message to other addicts (pages 89 and 103).
Every time we work with another addict we are reminded just how bad
it was when we first came into the program. In the newcomer, we recognize
the same trembling hands, weight loss, and look of desperation and
sheer terror that we had. We hear the unmanageability in terms of
depression, misery, and unhappiness, whether openly expressed or
feebly concealed. We are reminded of our own past troubles with personal
relationships, as we see newcomers struggle with theirs. Finally,
our faith in God's ability to restore us to sanity is reinforced,
as we see God transform the life of a newcomer, right before our
In addition to carrying the message to other addicts, Step Twelve
involves practicing these principles in all areas of our lives. If
addicts who relapse are fortunate enough to return to the program
and analyze what happened, they may find they had stopped practicing
these principles in all their affairs. That they were no longer examining
their motives, reviewing their days, praying, or carrying the message
(pages 15 and 89).
there were one watchword to describe how these steps should be
it would be "continuously," for it is only through
God and constant application of these principles that we can be assured
of the recovery offered by Cocaine Anonymous.
The Twelve Steps are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics
Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the
Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous does not mean that A.A. is affiliated
with this program. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism.
Use of the Steps in connection with programs and activities which
are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not
Literature. Copyright 2003, Cocaine Anonymous World Services, Inc.