Twelve Steps Before the Program

This is as good a definition of co-dependency as any:
  1. We admitted we were powerless over nothing—that we could manage our lives perfectly and those of anyone else who would allow us to.
  2. Came to believe there was no power greater than ourselves and the rest of the world was insane.
  3. Made a decision to have our loved ones and friends turn their wills and lives over to our care, even though they couldn't understand us at all.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral and immoral inventory of everyone we knew.
  5. Admitted to the whole world at large the exact nature of everyone else's wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to make others straighten up and do right.
  7. Demanded others to either shape up or ship out.
  8. Made a list of all persons who had harmed us, and became willing to go to any lengths to get even with them all.
  9. Got direct revenge on such people wherever possible, except when to do so would cost us our own lives or at the very least a jail sentence.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory of others and when they were wrong, promptly and repeatedly told them about it.
  11. Sought through bitching and nagging to improve our relations with others as we couldn't understand them, asking only that they knuckle under and DO IT MY WAY.
  12. Having had a complete physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown as a result of THESE STEPS, we tried to blame it on others and to get sympathy and pity in all our affairs.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 9). Twelve Steps Before the Program, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Last Updated: August 8, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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