What Are The 36 Spiritual Principles Of AA


  • The 36 Spiritual Principles of AA provide a comprehensive framework for individuals seeking recovery from addiction.
  • These principles are deeply rooted in spiritual and moral values, offering guidance and support to those on the path to sobriety.
  • Each principle serves as a guiding light, helping individuals develop a strong foundation for lasting recovery.
  • Honesty is a fundamental principle that encourages individuals to be truthful with themselves and others, fostering self-awareness and accountability.
  • Humility teaches individuals to let go of ego and pride, allowing them to embrace vulnerability and seek help when needed.
  • Faith reminds individuals to have trust in something greater than themselves, providing comfort and strength during challenging times.
  • Courage empowers individuals to face their fears head-on, enabling personal growth and resilience in the face of adversity.
  • Willingness encourages individuals to be open-minded and receptive to new ideas, perspectives, and solutions for overcoming addiction.
  • Acceptance teaches individuals to acknowledge their limitations and imperfections while embracing themselves unconditionally.
  • Tolerance promotes empathy and understanding towards others’ struggles, fostering compassion within the recovery community.
  • Patience reminds individuals that recovery is a lifelong journey, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and gradual progress.
  • Surrender encourages individuals to let go of control over their addiction, surrendering themselves to a higher power or spiritual belief system.
  • Forgiveness enables individuals to release resentment towards themselves or others, promoting healing and emotional well-being.
  • Service emphasizes the significance of giving back to others in need, fostering a sense of purpose beyond oneself.
  • Gratitude cultivates an attitude of appreciation for life’s blessings, helping individuals find joy in the present moment rather than dwelling on past mistakes or regrets.
  • Integrity encourages individuals to align their actions with their values, promoting honesty and ethical behavior in all aspects of life.
  • Self-discipline empowers individuals to make positive choices and maintain healthy habits, contributing to long-term sobriety.
  • Responsibility reminds individuals that they are accountable for their own actions and decisions, empowering them to take control of their recovery journey.
  • Hope instills optimism and belief in the possibility of a brighter future, providing motivation during challenging times.
  • Calmness teaches individuals to find inner peace

If you’re seeking a path to spiritual growth and personal transformation, you may have come across the 36 Spiritual Principles of AA. These principles form the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a renowned support group for individuals struggling with addiction. But what exactly are these principles, and how can they help you navigate the complexities of life? In this article, we’ll explore the profound wisdom behind each principle and delve into their practical application in everyday life. Whether you’re on a recovery journey or simply searching for guidance on your spiritual path, understanding these principles can offer invaluable insights and empower you to live a more fulfilling and purposeful life. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey together as we uncover the transformative power of the 36 Spiritual Principles of AA.

Life is filled with challenges that often leave us feeling lost, disconnected, and yearning for something more meaningful. We’ve all experienced moments when our spirits were dampened by adversity or when we felt trapped in cycles of destructive behavior. Perhaps you’ve struggled with addiction yourself or witnessed its devastating effects on someone close to you. Whatever your story may be, it’s likely that you’ve grappled with questions about finding inner peace, overcoming obstacles, and living authentically. The good news is that within the 36 Spiritual Principles of AA lies a roadmap to address these universal struggles and guide us towards a brighter future. Join us as we unravel the secrets held within these principles and unlock their transformative potential in our lives.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a fellowship that helps individuals overcome alcoholism through sharing experiences and strength. Founded in 1935, AA follows spiritual principles outlined in the Twelve Steps. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, both recovering alcoholics, developed AA to create a supportive community focused on spirituality and helping others.

The History and Background of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its Spiritual Principles

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experiences, strength, and hope with each other to overcome alcoholism. Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, AA has grown to become an international organization with millions of members worldwide. The program is based on the belief that alcoholism is a spiritual malady that requires a spiritual solution.

Central to AA’s approach is the Twelve Steps, which outline a path to recovery through spiritual principles. These steps encourage individuals to admit powerlessness over alcohol, seek assistance from a higher power, make amends for past wrongs, and help others struggling with addiction.

The Founders of AA

Bill Wilson, commonly known as Bill W., was an alcoholic who struggled with his addiction for many years. After experiencing a spiritual awakening while hospitalized for alcoholism in 1934, he sought out other alcoholics to share his newfound sobriety. Dr. Bob Smith, also known as Dr. Bob, became the second member of AA after meeting Bill W. in June 1935.

Together, they developed the principles and practices that form the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous today. Their mission was to create a supportive community where individuals could recover from alcoholism by adopting spiritual principles and helping others.

The Importance of Spirituality in AA

Spirituality plays a vital role in Alcoholics Anonymous as it provides individuals with a framework for finding meaning and purpose in their lives beyond their addiction. While AA does not promote any specific religious beliefs or affiliations, it encourages members to develop their understanding of spirituality through personal exploration.

This emphasis on spirituality reflects the acknowledgment that addiction is not solely a physical or mental issue but also a spiritual one. By addressing the underlying spiritual void that often accompanies addiction, individuals in AA can find a path to recovery and personal growth.

Key Points:

  • AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith.
  • The Twelve Steps form the basis of AA’s program, incorporating spiritual principles.
  • Spirituality is integral to AA’s approach, providing individuals with meaning beyond their addiction.

Defining Spirituality in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its Importance in Recovery

Understanding Spirituality in AA

Spirituality, as defined within the context of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is a deeply personal and individual experience. It encompasses a belief in a power greater than oneself, however that may be interpreted by each member. While AA does not endorse or promote any specific religious beliefs, it encourages members to develop their own understanding of spirituality as a vital aspect of recovery. This understanding allows individuals to tap into inner strength, find solace, and cultivate a sense of purpose beyond addiction.

The Importance of Spirituality in Recovery

In AA, spirituality plays a pivotal role in the recovery process. It provides a framework for healing and growth by addressing the underlying causes of addiction and helping individuals develop coping mechanisms. Embracing spirituality helps recovering alcoholics recognize their limitations and surrender control over their lives to a higher power. By fostering humility, self-reflection, and accountability, spirituality enables individuals to embrace change and embark on a transformative journey towards sobriety.

An Overview of the 36 Spiritual Principles that Form the Foundation of AA’s Program

The Foundational Principles of AA

AA’s program is built upon 12 steps that guide individuals towards recovery from alcoholism. These steps are underpinned by 36 spiritual principles that serve as guiding values throughout the journey. These principles encompass honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, humility, perseverance, acceptance, faith, courage, integrity, service to others, gratitude, forgiveness, and many more. Each principle addresses different aspects of personal growth and fosters positive changes necessary for sustained sobriety.

A few examples:

  • Honesty: Acknowledging one’s shortcomings and being truthful with oneself and others.
  • Acceptance: Embracing the present moment, including both the joys and challenges of life.
  • Perseverance: Continuing to strive for sobriety despite setbacks or difficulties.

How Spiritual Principles Aid in Sobriety and Personal Growth in AA

The Role of Spiritual Principles in Sobriety

Spiritual principles provide a moral compass for individuals in AA, guiding their actions and decisions as they navigate the path to recovery. By practicing these principles, members cultivate self-awareness, empathy, and emotional resilience. These qualities are essential for overcoming triggers, maintaining sobriety during challenging times, and fostering healthy relationships.

Promoting Personal Growth through Spiritual Principles

The incorporation of spiritual principles into daily life nurtures personal growth within AA members. By embracing accountability and making amends for past mistakes, individuals learn to take responsibility for their actions. The practice of spiritual principles also encourages self-reflection, helping members identify patterns of destructive behavior and develop healthier coping mechanisms. This introspection fosters personal development by promoting positive change, enhancing emotional well-being, and facilitating a renewed sense of purpose.

Specific Steps and Practices Associated with Each Spiritual Principle in AA

Examples of Steps and Practices Linked to Spiritual Principles

Each spiritual principle within AA is accompanied by specific steps and practices that guide individuals towards embodying these principles in their daily lives. For instance:

  • Honesty: Step 5 involves admitting one’s wrongdoings to oneself, a higher power, and another person.
  • Courage: Step 4 requires taking a fearless moral inventory of oneself.
  • Service to Others: Step 12 encourages individuals to carry the message of recovery to other alcoholics.

By engaging in these steps and practices, AA members actively integrate spiritual principles into their lives, fostering personal growth and strengthening their recovery journey.

Real-Life Success Stories Demonstrating the Effectiveness of AA’s Spiritual Principles

Inspiring Real-Life Stories of Recovery

Countless individuals have found hope, healing, and lasting sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous’ spiritual principles. These success stories serve as powerful testaments to the effectiveness of AA’s program. For example:

  • A struggling alcoholic who embraced the principle of surrender found freedom from addiction by letting go of control and placing trust in a higher power.
  • An individual who practiced forgiveness experienced emotional liberation and restored broken relationships, paving the way for a life free from resentment.
  • A person who committed to service realized that helping others not only strengthened their own sobriety but also brought meaning and fulfillment to their existence.

These real-life accounts highlight how the integration of spiritual principles within AA can lead to profound transformations, opening doors to a brighter future for those seeking recovery.


In conclusion, the 36 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a comprehensive framework for individuals seeking recovery from alcohol addiction. These principles encompass a wide range of spiritual concepts and practices that emphasize personal growth, self-reflection, and connection with a higher power. By incorporating these principles into their lives, AA members are able to find strength, serenity, and sobriety.

Through the exploration of honesty, humility, acceptance, and gratitude among other fundamental principles, AA offers a holistic approach to recovery that addresses not only the physical aspects of addiction but also the underlying spiritual and emotional components. The 36 spiritual principles serve as guiding values that support individuals in their journey towards lasting sobriety while fostering a sense of community and support within the AA fellowship. Ultimately, by embracing these principles and integrating them into their daily lives, individuals can find inner peace, purpose, and a renewed sense of well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions about What Are The 36 Spiritual Principles Of AA

Are there 36 principles of AA?
Within the AA community, it is widely recognized that the spiritual principles are represented by the Twelve Steps. However, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding, it is important to include the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts, making a total of 36 principles. Various AA members have created additional lists of spiritual virtues that align with the Twelve Steps and have published them throughout the years.

What are the 12 principles of AA concepts?
The 12 principles of recovery in spirituality include acceptance, hope, faith, courage, honesty, patience, humility, willingness, brotherly love, integrity, self-discipline, and service.

What is the basic principle of AA?
The initial stage of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) involves being truthful about one’s lack of control, which often requires a level of honesty that many individuals struggling with addiction have not previously achieved. Many addicts or alcoholics may believe that their situation is not severe or that they have the ability to quit whenever they choose.

Who wrote the 12 principles of AA?
In 1939, Wilson and Smith published a book titled “The Big Book,” which presented 12 principles for achieving recovery. Although the principles were initially influenced by Christianity, many Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups have now adapted and expanded their interpretations to be more inclusive and practical for a diverse range of people.

What are the 4 absolutes of AA?
In the early days of the Alcoholics Anonymous program, the “Four Absolutes” were seen as guidelines for determining proper behavior based on God’s perspective. These Four Absolutes are Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness, and Love.

Are there 12 promises in AA?
The 12 Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous are an integral part of the 9th Step, which focuses on making amends. These promises are designed to inspire feelings of usefulness and deter feelings of regret among AA members, instilling a belief that a future filled with peace and serenity is attainable.

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