12 Steps of Recovery

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 by K-LOVE Pastors

12 Steps of Recovery

We all battle temptation but sometimes areas of our lives can get out of control, leading us into addiction.  Whether it’s drinking too much alcohol or overspending anything you can’t control is your master.  Maybe you’re feeling the symptoms of addiction such as broken relationships, financial stress, or poor job performance. If so, God has a path of deliverance for you.  The following 12 step devotionals are a guide to help you get started on that path.

step 1

We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. 

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” 

– Romans 7:18 (NLT) 

Ever since I was a child, I’ve battled with an unhealthy relationship with food. For decades, my struggle with overeating had created Mt. Everest-sized mountains of shame in my life.  

I tried all kinds of approaches to controlling my eating: Diet. Weight-loss programs. Counting calories. Intermittent fasting. None of these approaches are bad, but they never panned out for me because I kept trying to do it in my power. It wasn’t until I admitted to God – and myself – I couldn’t do it on my own that I began to experience the freedom I had been longing for so desperately.  

In Romans 7:18, the Apostle Paul writes about his battle. He knows the right thing to do but can’t do it himself like so many of us. So what was the answer for Paul? In verse 25a, Paul says, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord….”  

The power to experience the freedom you and I are looking for is in Jesus Christ. It’s only in him that you and I can begin to conquer our addictions. So the first step to finding freedom is relying on the only one who can truly set you free.  

Prayer: Lord, I can’t fix this on my own. I’ve been trying so hard for so long, but it hasn’t worked. I realize that I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing. So please help me give this to you and partner with the work you want to do in me so that I can experience the abundant life you have for me.  

Reflection Questions 

  1. What addictions are you facing today?
  2. How can admitting to Jesus that you need his help pave the way to finding the freedom you need?

Step 2

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” 

– Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

 In 1927 an American submarine collided with a Coast Guard ship off Provincetown, MA, and began to sink. The Coast Guard and Navy sent divers to rescue the trapped sailors before it was too late. When the divers got to the sub, they heard the crew tapping on the hull in Morse Code. One of the crew’s questions to the divers was, “Is there hope?” 

The crew’s question to the divers is one we’ve all asked at one time or another. Can things get better? Am I just a lost cause? Has God given up on me? How on earth will God put the broken pieces of my life back together?  

In today’s verse, the Apostle Paul reminds us that God is always working in our lives. He doesn’t expect or demand us to overcome our struggles on our own. Instead, he wants to come alongside us, giving us the power we need, one day at a time.  

Just like the divers didn’t give up on the sailors trapped in the sunken sub, God has not given up on you. There is hope and help for you today. God will finish in you what he started with you (Philippians 1:6).  

Prayer: Father, I don’t have the power to break free from the hold ____________ has on me, but I know you do. So please teach me how to walk in step with you on my road to recovery. I need you to come alongside me on this journey. Please help me rely on you and not myself for the healing I need.  

Reflection Questions 

  1. What is discouraging you on your recovery journey right now?
  2. What’s one step you can take this week to reconnect with God’s power and hope for your life?

* USS Nautilus Museum, “The Loss of USS S-4 (SS-109)

Step 3

We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God. 

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

– Romans 12:1 (NLT) 

When I was in third grade, I had to have emergency surgery. It was the most terrifying experience of my young life. I begged my mom and the doctors to find another way. Heartbroken, they said this was the only way. In tears, I reluctantly allowed the doctors to do the work they needed to do in me before it was too late.  

The Apostle Paul writes about offering our bodies to God as a living and holy sacrifice in today’s verse. If we are to experience the life-transforming power of God in our lives, we must give him complete control of our lives.  

As much as I didn’t want the doctors to operate on me that afternoon, I knew I needed to let them do for me what I couldn’t do for myself. We must allow God, the Great Physician, to do the same for us.  

Have you given God complete control of your life? It’s one thing to believe in God; it’s another thing to put him in the driver’s seat. If you haven’t done that, let today be the day you invite him in to do the work in you that only he can do.   

Prayer: Lord, I know there’s work in me that you need to do, but sometimes I’m scared of how hard it’s going to be. Please help me to trust that you know what’s best for me. Please show me how to let go of what I’m holding on to that’s holding me back.  

Reflection Questions 

  1. Share about when you first gave your life to Jesus. If you’ve never done that before, talk about what’s keeping you from surrendering to him.
  2. What’s one thing you’ve been holding on to that you need to give up to the Lord today?

Step 4

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 

“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD.”

- Lamentations 3:40 NLT 

I love having answers to other people’s questions. It’s part of how God has wired me. I love to learn and to teach. But as someone called to lead, I must watch out for pride. I must be careful not to look at other people’s questions, problems, or struggles while ignoring my own.   

As a Christian, it is so crucial for me to be honest with myself, not to quote the “right” answers in my head and heart, but to apply them and to humbly let God do what he needs to do in me. True wisdom knows the correct answers and how to use them. Wisdom says to let the Lord guide us and bring us through correction and into healing.   

We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and so we must be willing to face that sin and be honest with it before the Lord. Jesus already paid the price for it. So why would I want to carry a single ounce of it for even a second longer? I can’t ignore my sin; I must give it to Jesus and let Him heal me.  

Prayer: Father, give me the wisdom to see what I need to learn most from you today. Strengthen me to face my sin and struggles and seek healing and accountability in you. Lord, may I be honest with you and myself. Grant me the hope I need to move forward in integrity with You. AMEN.  

Reflection Questions 

  1. Write out your struggles. Be honest with yourself. Pray through them, and confess them to the Lord, asking for forgiveness, healing, and wisdom for moving forward (1 John 1:9)
  2. Ask God to guide your thoughts and to shape your heart for healing. Psalm 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Step 5

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

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” 

- James 5:16a NLT

My quick wit has gotten me into trouble sometimes. I had a friend when I was younger who was naïve, and she would regularly “set herself up” for sarcastic put-downs from me. Since we were long-time friends, I felt a little too comfortable with my negative words.   

One day, when I was sending another jab at my friend, God let me hear what was coming out of my mouth as I had never heard it before, and I was mortified. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t friendly, and it certainly wasn’t Christ-like. So that night, I spent time with the Lord, I confessed my sins to Him, and then, the very next morning, I went and confessed to my friend.   

God brings healing as we become more aware of our sin and more honest with ourselves and with Him. Confession is good for the soul, and if we tell someone, then the enemy can’t hold it over our head anymore. There is freedom here.  

Prayer: Father, thank you for the promise that confession brings healing. Thank You for the blood of Christ that covers over the sins of your children, restoring us to You and one another. Amen. 

Reflection Questions 

  1. Ask the Lord for strength in confronting sin in your life. Be specific.
  2. To whom are you going to confess your sins?

Step 6

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

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

- James 4:10 NLT

An old preacher named Charles Spurgeon once said, “If you are renewed by grace and were to meet your old self, I am sure you would be very anxious to get out of his company.” As we seek God’s healing, we need to be ready to be humble. Humility means being willing to examine our flaws and receive the necessary correction to leave them behind. This removal of sin is key to finding our healing in Jesus Christ.  

It’s never comfortable being examined by someone else. It feels like we’re under the microscope, and every point of concern can feel like a personal assault. As a result, we cannot hold on to pride as we seek our freedom in Christ. Pride fights back, but humility seeks out the correction from love.  

Whether we humble ourselves or God brings us through humbling circumstances, we should desire to leave our old life behind. God has something so much better for us as we walk away from sin and toward His Son, Jesus.  

Prayer: Father, I know that the journey from where I am to where You want me to have still quite a few steps to walk out. I thank You for loving me enough to heal me along the way. Please give me strength to see Your cleansing work in my life worked out.  

Reflection Questions 

  1. In Psalm 19:14, David says, “May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Talk with God about where your heart and mind seem to need the most help.
  2. How have you seen God working in you to reveal your areas for needed growth in your character? What areas seem to be most in need of His good work?

Step 7

We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 

– 1 John 1:9 (NLT) 

Johnny and his sister Sally went to visit their grandparents’ farm. One day, Johnny took his slingshot out in the woods but couldn’t hit any targets. As he headed in, he saw his grandma’s pet duck and, without thinking, let his slingshot fly. The pebble ended up hitting the duck right in the head and killed it. Johnny panicked and buried the duck, only to see his sister watching the whole thing.  

At dinner, grandma asked Sally to wash the dishes, but Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to wash the dishes.” Then she whispered to him, “Remember the duck?” So, Johnny reluctantly did the dishes.  

This arrangement went on for days until Johnny finally confessed. His grandma gave him a big hug and said, “Sweetheart, I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. I forgive you. I love you so much! I was wondering how long you were going to let Sally hang that over your head.”  

How many times have you let guilt be the Sally in your life?  

Here’s the thing: God already knows what you did. Like Johnny’s grandma, nothing gets past him. No matter what you’ve done, he’s always got love and forgiveness waiting for you. So, it’s time to stop letting your Sally boss you around and let God lavish his love and grace on you today.  

Prayer: Lord, I’ve been carrying around this shame long enough. I confess my sins to you now: _________________. Please forgive me for my past, let me experience your grace in the present, and show me how to live for you today.  

Reflection Questions 

  1. What sins have you been struggling to confess to God?
  2. Set aside time this week to confess your sins to God, ask his forgiveness, and allow him to give you the grace you need.

Step 8

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

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” 

– Luke 6:31 NLT 

I don’t have to think hard to remember who has harmed me throughout my life. From the kid who threw my show and tell items out of the bus window in kindergarten to the guy who cut me off in traffic and even deeper wounds from people I once thought were close to me. I can never forget those who have hurt me.   

But when I flip to the other side of that coin and ask whom I have hurt over the years, that takes a bit more work and humility. When I become “the bad guy,” I strongly desire to justify my choices and behaviors.   

As I follow Jesus, I cannot justify my sins. I need soberly and intentionally think about the harm I’ve done, including making lists of names. You see, if I don’t include names, then I am softening my impact. I am selling myself a false story and keeping myself from really understanding the result of my actions and choices. I must be honest with God and myself. I must name names.  

Prayer: Father, help me be humble, honest, and teachable. I know I have brought harm to myself and others. Lord, work Your healing in me and help me see the impact of my sin while also keeping me focused on where You’re leading me today. Father, work recovery in everyone who has been affected by my sin. Please draw their hearts close in Your peace. Amen. 

Reflection Questions  

  1. Start writing out your list today. Prayerfully ask God to guide your memory and prompt you to think through the lives of people affected by your addiction.
  2. If you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, remember that God has forgiven you, but we still walk out the consequences of our actions. Ask God for strength to do what is right.

Step 9

We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 

- Matthew 5:23-24 

People aren’t always ready to talk with someone they’re angry with, at least not in a productive way. It is hard to speak with someone we know we hurt or were disappointed, but so often, it is precisely what’s needed to see healing come through.   

There is something about the humility required at that moment that can touch the heart of the offended person in a way that nothing else can. But we also know there are occasions when going to someone in person will reopen old wounds that are better left alone.  

Therefore, we come to God, seek wisdom from Him, and think things through before initiating anything like this. God knows best what ought to be done. His guidance often comes through His Word, so we meet with Him there first.  

Prayer: Father, thank You for doing the heavy lifting in the work of restoration between our hearts and Yours. I also know that my strength comes from You to restore relationships with people I have wounded. Please give me the wisdom to know what to do, how to speak, and how to honor You. In all humility, I come to You, Jesus. Guide me in this, please.  

Reflection Questions  

  1. Since you’ve made a list of people you need to seek forgiveness from, now take that list and ask God for wisdom to know which are beneficial to connect with and which ones need to be left alone.
  2. Wisdom is sometimes seen by being silent (Proverbs 17:28.) Ask a trusted sponsor or mature Christian friend to help you in this process.

Step 10

We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” 

– 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT) 

Action and reflection are two of my favorite words my mentor taught me. In a nutshell, I was instructed to reflect on my actions. Am I growing? Is my heart getting harder or softer? Act, reflect, act again and reflect again. Simple, yet profound. One of the best practices anyone can develop is the practice of reflection.   

We need to continually take stock of what is going on in our hearts. Admit where we were wrong and move forward. Taking inventory is a non-negotiable to growth. We must develop the ability to say, “I was wrong.”   

The good news is that when we confess our sin, our God is faithful and to forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. That is a promise. The only prerequisite? Bring your whole, honest self to Jesus. There is no formula to pray. Be honest with the Lord.   

Prayer: Lord, in Psalm 51:17b, you told us, “You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Thank you that your mercies never come to an end. Help me to take stock of what is going on in my heart. If sin is present, help me to repent and turn to you. Teach me to practice reflection, and may I have continual confession in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.   

Reflection Questions 

  1. Schedule time this week to get away someplace quiet to do a personal inventory.
  2. Turn your devices off. Pray for God to show you what things in your life you need to make right, then sit quietly as the Lord brings those issues to your mind. Right down what you hear and begin to take steps to align yourself back to where God wants you to be.

Step 11

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out. 

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.” 

– Colossians 3:16a (NLT)

When it comes to our walk with Jesus, we don’t have to make anything up. Everything we need is already laid out for us in Scripture. Jesus showed us how to rest, work with difficult people, honor God in prayer, and rely on His Word. So, there’s a rich resource in being in daily study and prayer.   

When we plan to spend daily time with God in His Word, we will find ourselves well taken care of in our hearts and on the road to the wisdom that only He provides. We see the wealth of His counsel when we meet with Him in the Bible. He provides answers, direction, hope, and love for His children.   

When we walk in this good discipline, we will also find the power needed to carry out God’s work in our lives, and this brings healing day by day. Where we are weak, He is strong.  

Prayer: Father, I am reliant on You for strength, peace, and hope. Please fill my heart as I meet with You in Your Word and prayer. Please help me with strength for today and provide hope for tomorrow. I need You, Jesus. Amen.  

Reflection Questions 

  1. Do you have a scheduled time to read the Bible and pray each day? If so, share what you read with someone.
  2. Make a list of areas where you need God’s strength each day. Pray over each and find a verse that encourages you, too.

Step 12

Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” 

- Galatians 6:1 NLT 

When God blesses us with healing, grace, forgiveness, or even His peace, we can’t keep that to ourselves. In Matthew 28, Jesus gives us His “Great Commission,” empowering us to share the Good News with the whole world in His name. When we experience this work of God for recovery in our life, we experience a gift to be shared.   

When you began your recovery journey, you probably heard from people who were 1, 2, or even ten steps ahead of you. You received encouragement from them and benefited from their excitement and joy. In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham that He blessed him that he might be a blessing for others. When we find healing in Christ, we are blessed with a similar call on our lives.   

As you know, it’s not an easy road to walk, but it is the best one. With the help of God, you have come this far. So, let’s praise Him for it and seek opportunities to share this joy and blessing with others!    

Prayer: Father, we celebrate Your work in our lives. We praise the saving work of Jesus Christ, as You rescue us from our sin. So please strengthen me now to do the continued work of walking with You daily, still trusting in Your strength, leaning on Your wisdom, and walking according to Your will. Amen.

Reflection Questions  

  1. Make a list of what you have seen God do so far in your recovery journey. Use this list as a reminder for celebration and as a place for prayer.
  2. Prayerfully ask God how you can be a blessing to others as you walk in recovery with Him each day.
TemptationSinSexual PuritySelfControlRenewRegretPrayerNew LifeGamblingFood AddictionChemical AddictionAddiction

You Might Also Like

Daily Faith Challenge


Day 30: Forgiveness: The Measure of Love

By K-LOVE Pastors

Daily Faith Challenge


Day 29: When You’re Wondering if God Still Loves You

By K-LOVE Pastors

Daily Faith Challenge


Day 28: God’s Love in Action

By K-LOVE Pastors