Atheist/Agnostic 12 Steps

I found these to be very helpful for me.  As an atheist and someone who could use some 12-step wisdom for my codependence, this really helped me.  I was able to see what the options are when you remove “God” or some “Higher Power” as the being that will rescue you.


Codependent/ S-Anon Atheist 12 Steps – This is how I have started thinking about my codependency and how to overcome it.

1. We admitted we were powerless over other people – that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe and to accept that a power within myself in tandem with supports and strengths beyond my own awareness and resources can restore me to a healthier, more balanced, and positive state of mind, body and soul.

3. Made a decision to entrust our wills and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to ourselves, without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.  When appropriate, asked the opinions of others and were willing to take those opinions into consideration, whether they were what we wanted to hear or not.

6. We are ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate 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. Made a genuine effort to maintain a positive attitude and remain honest with ourselves when tracing the root of our troubles. Continued to think for ourselves and not be easily led, but seriously considered the input of others.

12. Having a much stronger sense of self-worth and purpose as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other co-dependents, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


Sex Addiction 12 Steps – These are the steps that my husband uses for SA.  I debated posting them here, since this is about my recovery, not his.  However, these were hard for me to find, so I thought I would share them so that others can have easier access.

1. We admitted that we were using sexual acting out in spite of better judgment, and that it was destroying many aspects of, if not all aspects of our lives and causing harm to ourselves and those around us.

2. Came to realize that we needed the support of others that could truly relate to us, what our acting out had done to us and those around us, and could help steer us back on track when our thinking and behavior got destructive. In short, that we can not find all of the answers alone.

3. Made a decision to turn my will and my life into the right direction, despite my desire to overindulge myself. I realized that I am much more fulfilled as a person when I am truly there to take care of myself and others; and that this is impossible when actively acting out.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to ourselves the exact nature of our wrongs. When appropriate, asked the opinions of others and were willing to take those opinions into consideration, whether they were what we wanted to hear or not.

6. Were entirely ready to make a plan of action to stop these behaviors that were harmful to us and others.

7. Let go of resentments, or at least became willing to try. Started to acknowledge that many of our resentments really came down to our defects, not those of others.

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. Made a genuine effort to maintain a positive attitude, practice patience and understanding of others, and remain honest with ourselves when tracing the root of our troubles. Continued to think for ourselves and not be easily led, but seriously considered the input of others.

12. Having a much stronger sense of self-worth and purpose as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other SAs, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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8 Responses to “Atheist/Agnostic 12 Steps”

  1. Tus' ADHD Diary February 9, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    amazing! thanks very much for posting, I have been struggling so much with Melody Beattie’s preaching T__T, was wondering if you know any throughout therapy/ workbook for atheist?

  2. Nicky Eddie September 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Yes.. yes yes… i CAN relate to this!! i have been reading about the 12 steps program for codependency and got stuck basically from the get go because i just do not believe in a God, Gods or even a Higher Power so i could not get even past step 1.. let alone make it to step 12.. now a power within myself that makes perfect sense! because all those wrong beliefs, thoughts and behaviours are powers, so logically.. the right kind of power is also there.

    • beautifulmess7 September 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      That’s absolutely the way I had to think about it. I’m so glad my post could help you. 🙂

    • Anonymous March 1, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

      Yes😉

  3. smileever September 8, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    very nice … this is totally usefull 4 an atheist .

    • beautifulmess7 September 10, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks for your reply. It took me a while to find these, and once I did they changed my perspective on 12-step programs. Before I was very closed off and skeptical of any program that required me to rely on “god.” Now I can see that there are ways to interpret that for an athiest. It has allowed me to leave that bitterness behind and be open.

  4. guiltydon2012 July 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m so glad I found this post! I’m not a religious person, so I’m already struggling with the the “usual” first steps in accepting a higher power. But I suppose, the real point of any 12 step program is that the addict needs to accept help from somewhere else.

    • beautifulmess7 July 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      I’m glad it was helpful for you. I posted it because I had a hard time finding 12 steps that would work for my husband and I. All of these organizations say that they are not religious in nature and aren’t affiliated with any denomination; however they seem to have a basic assumption that you are religious and believe in god. As someone who doesn’t I wondered where I stood and whether I was welcome or even could participate in a way that would be meaningful and helpful to me. Then I found these, and it completely changed my perspective.

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