The Twelve Steps
of Nicotine Anonymous
Step One

We admitted we were powerless over nicotine--that our lives had become unmanageable.


By first admitting that we are powerless over nicotine, we immediately open the door to receive help. This admission of powerlessness enables us to become more open-minded and willing to accept a strength far greater than our own.

For some people this is hard to do, but if we were not powerless over nicotine, then we should be able to smoke any number of cigarettes in any given day--some days two or three, some days a pack or more, some days none at all. Most of us simply cannot do this.

The second part of Step One "that our lives had become unmanageable," is easy to prove. If we stop smoking for a few hours, going it alone on pure willpower we soon realize how unmanageable our lives really are. The craving for a cigarette begins to take control of us and we are helpless until we have one.

Step Two

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity


The first part of this step is coming to believe that there is a "Power greater than ourselves." Many of us already have a belief in a Higher Power that we call God. If we don't have a belief in a Power greater than ourselves, it's important that we at least remain open-minded.

Perhaps we have asked God for help in a time of need and have received it. Maybe we were gazing over an ocean at sunset and suddenly had the feeling that there was definitely a Higher Power. Maybe it was when we gave birth to a child and prayed to God that it would be all right. If we find it hard to believe now maybe we can recall some of these times.

Coming to believe that God could actually do something for us is the second part of this step. If we can believe that He gave us life, then surely we can believe that He will help us live it as healthy human beings. If we have even a slight amount of faith that God can and will help us, it will open the door.

The third part of this step is "restore us to sanity." From what insanity do we have to be restored? We purposely inhale into our lungs a poisonous alkaloid called nicotine. The effects on our bodies from inhaling this substance have been proven over and over to be hazardous to our health, yet we continue to smoke. This is insanity

Step Three

 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.


In Step One we admitted that we were powerless over nicotine, and that our lives had become unmanageable. In Step Two we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Step Three is simply making the decision to let God care for us. If we can let Him care for our lives, and we are trying to quit something as harmful to our lives as nicotine, then surely we can believe that He will help us. By taking these first three steps we open the door to let in the help and strength of a Power greater than ourselves. God is always with us and will help us if we are willing to let Him.

Step Four

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


The importance of doing an inventory is to enable us to know ourselves better. By being fearless and searching, we discover our assets and our character defects. Writing out the inventory helps us better to see and understand what we have to deal with.In this step we begin to clean house. As we discover our reasons for smoking, it becomes easier to eliminate them from our lives. By doing this we strengthen tremendously our chances of staying off cigarettes.

Step Five

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


In this step our "house cleaning" continues. We no longer have to hold the burden of our wrongs inside us. When taking this step we might also discover things that could cause us concern in the future.Getting some of the weight off our shoulders makes it a lot easier to eliminate anxieties and tensions from our lives. Many of the reasons we might use for returning to nicotine are brought out in this step.By sharing our past with another human being, many things may suddenly seem different. Things that used to stay inside us and cause us to worry and smoke will no longer be our secrets alone.

Step Six

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.


In Step One we admitted we were powerless over nicotine and in Step Two we came to believe that God could help us. In Step Three we made the decision to let Him care for our lives. Steps Four and Five uncovered our defects of character.After doing these first five steps, we now have to become willing to let go of our character defects. The willingness to have them removed is the key to Step Six.It's important to remember that many of our character defects relate directly to our nicotine addiction. By being willing to let go of these character defects, we are greatly increasing our chances of staying off nicotine.

Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


By now we should be somewhat humble. We've admitted we were powerless over nicotine, uncovered our character defects and shared the exact nature of wrongs with someone else.Now we can ask God to remove our shortcomings. This is trusting God to a high degree. We are asking Him to change us. We are asking Him to remove our fears, our anger, our dishonesty, our jealousy, and everything that might be a shortcoming.This change that we will undergo will strengthen our character and give us a stronger defense against any harmful addiction that might tempt us.

Step Eight

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.


In this step even more strength is added to our program. If there is anybody we have harmed in our past, it is important that we get the guilt off our conscience. By making a list we become clear as to exactly who these people are. In Step Five we may have mentioned some wrongs we've done to specific people in our past. If we have a family, it's likely our nicotine addiction has caused them some worry. There may be people at work who have suffered with our second-hand smoke. Our list should include all persons we have harmed regardless of how much or under what circumstances.We may want to put ourselves at the top of the list. We are the ones who have probably suffered the most. On a constant basis we have inhaled into our lungs something defined by the dictionary as poisonous. In the truest sense of the word we have done ourselves harm.

Step Nine

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


By giving ourselves the gift of being a nonsmoker, we are making amends. This is truly one of the finest gifts we can give ourselves. Our bodies will begin to recover immediately and much of the damage will be completely reversed.We begin to make amends to our loved ones by showing them that we are caring for ourselves. No longer do they have to fear that we are practicing a deadly habit. Many of our amends will be made by the simple act of quitting.Making amends in other areas of our life will strengthen our chances of staying off cigarettes for good. This will also give us more self-esteem and more freedom. Self-esteem is what we've been lacking. We should always remember, "We're just too good to be addicted to nicotine."

Step Ten

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.


In order to maintain a comfortable state of mind, we have to stay in tune with ourselves and others. By continuing to take a personal inventory we can accomplish this.When defects like anger, fear and jealousy come up we can immediately go back and do a "Seventh Step" on them, asking God to remove these shortcomings.The second part of this step, "when we were wrong promptly admitted it," is essential if we want to stay calm. By doing this we don't let anything build up inside of us that might cause us to smoke.

Step Eleven

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.


When dealing with an addiction as strong as nicotine we need all the help we can get. The help of a power greater than ourselves is available to us through prayer and meditation. By practicing this in our daily lives, we can keep a channel open to our higher power. We can rely on God's strength to help us at any time.The second part of this step, "praying only for knowledge of His will for us," is easy to do. The hard part is understanding what He tells us. We receive knowledge of His will for us in many different ways, though sometimes we overlook the obvious.When we have a cough, or a sore throat from using nicotine, this might be God's way of telling us we're doing something wrong. In whatever form the message comes, we can rest assured that nicotine addiction isn't God's will for us. He wants us to be healthy and He wants us to be free. He doesn't want us to be tied to a substance as dangerous and deadly as nicotine. God's will for us is to stop using nicotine.Once we believe that we are trying to do God's will, we can ask Him for the power to carry it out. When we have a compulsion to use nicotine we can ask Him to take it away. God is always with us and willing to help us.It is important to remember that we have to do the footwork, though, by going to meetings and listening to others with the same problem, we learn about the different methods of quitting, what has worked for some and what hasn't worked for others. We learn about the pitfalls and what to expect. We get group support. There are many things we can do if we are willing.

Step Twelve

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to nicotine users and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


By the time we have reached Step Twelve a change has taken place. The compulsion to use nicotine has been lifted, not by our own power, but by a power greater than ourselves. This in itself is a spiritual awakening. It's an awakening to a new life, a better and healthier life.
The Twelve Steps reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that AA is affiliated with this program. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism - use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after AA, but which address other problems, does not imply otherwise. See Alcoholics Anonymous' Twelve Steps below. 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. Copyright 1939, 1955, 1976 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.