Step Study TeamStudy GuideThis Study Guide has proven helpful in providing structure and guidance forlearning to work the Twelve-Step Program, as it is described in the bookAlcoholics Anonymous, in small groups of 8-12 persons. This version is acompilation of three pre-existing guides, all of which were used in actualgroups and combined into one by taking the most helpful features from each.This Guide has been used in its present form for approximately 15 years bymany groups with only minor changes which primarily dealt with clarificationof language, spelling, grammar etc.

Step Study TeamsI. Purposea.To provide the person who has not worked the Steps with the motivation and assistance in “working” the Steps.b.To provide those who have worked the Steps with an opportunity and motivation to do it againand to share your experience, strength and hope in the benefits of trying to practice these principles.II. Plana. Teams of no more than 12 persons will be formed (8 to 10 are preferred). The make-up of eachteam will be approximately 3 to 5 members who have worked the Steps in the manner described inthe Big Book and 8 to 9 members who have never worked the Steps in this manner, but who arewilling to try.b. Each team will select its own meeting place and meeting time, preferably at a time which doesnot conflict with normal A.A. meetings. TEAM MEETINGS ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A.A.MEETINGS AND FELLOWSHIP!!c. At the preliminary meeting all present will:(1) Exchange telephone numbers and addresses and select a meeting place.(2) COMMIT TO STAY WITH THE TEAM UNTIL ALL MEMBERS HAVE COMPLETEDTHE STEPS.(3) Commit to do the steps according to the Big Book and The Twelve and Twelve.(4) Those persons who have not previously done the Steps will be asked to commit to do themat least once more with another Step Study team after completion of this group. The purpose ofthis commitment is to get into the habit of “Carrying the Message” and to perpetuate the program of recovery among newer members of Alcoholics Anonymous.(5) Commit to making telephone or personal contact with one or more members of the teamduring each week for the duration of the study. This is to encourage sharing of problems orexperience with the assignment that week.(6) COMMIT TO ATTEND THE MEETINGS EXCEPT IN RARE AND EXTREMELYUNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES. EACH MEMBER REALLY NEEDS TO BE PRESENTEVERY WEEK. If a member cannot be present, it will be his/her responsibility to call anothermember and explain what the problem is so that the team will not be delayed. Each team isautonomous and the team’s group conscious should determine whether a member should bedropped for non-commitment. It is important to give the team’s function priority over any oneindividual.d. After the initial meeting (Week 1), no one should be added to the team. If someone has a slip oris not living up to their commitment to the team, the team as a group must decide if they want toallow them to continue with the team.e. When the team has completed the Steps, it will disband. The estimated time to complete the stepsis 15-20 weeks.III. Meeting Formata. There is no formal meeting format and each team is free to select its own. Most groups rotate thechairmanship from week to week and simply discuss the assigned material and share their experience in applying it to their lives.b. Each member must come to the meeting having read the assignment and studied those portions ofthe Big Book and /or Twelve and Twelve which relate to the Step under discussion, and having donehis /her assignment.c. The function of the team will be to help individual members apply the principles of each of thePage 1

Twelve Steps in their own life and share their experience in the discussion on each Step.d. It is necessary that each member of the team obtain a study notebook to record his/her notes,assignment, etc.IV. After CompletionAs teams complete the Steps, new teams will be formed to help newcomers and others who want toparticipate. A nucleus of experienced members (3-5) should accept new members on a first-come,first-served basis.V. About Co-ed GroupsThere is no reason why the teams cannot be co-ed, but it is recommended that should they be co-ed,that equal numbers of male/female be included. No problems need be encountered in the Forth andFifth Step areas as long as the principles of the program are being followed.Step Study Outline and Assignment SheetThe following pages contain a suggested homework assignment and meeting guide for use in theweekly meeting of the Step Study team. The time given for any particular study can be extended orshortened as each team chooses. When the study is completed, each member will have read throughchapter seven of the book Alcoholics Anonymous including the Preface and Forewords to all editions.This diagram is a handy reference for where the steps are located in the Big Book.Step 1The Doctors OpinionBill’s StoryThere Is A SolutionMore About AlcoholismStep 2We AgnosticsSteps 3-12How It WorksInto ActionWorking With OthersPLEASE KEEP IN MIND AS YOU ARE WORKING THROUGH THIS STUDY GUIDE THATEVERYTHING IN IT IS TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE BIG BOOK AND TWELVE ANDTWELVE. IT IS INTENDED AS A STUDY AID TO BE DONE IN SMALL GROUPS – NOT ASAN INDIVIDUAL GUIDE TO STEP STUDY FOR AN INDIVIDUAL.Page 2

----------------------------------------WEEK ONEDATECHAIRPERSONGo over pages 1 &2 of this guide regarding the Purpose, Plan and Meeting Format. It is important thatthe COMMITMENT section of this outline be carefully reviewed and that every member of the teamthoroughly understands that he or she is committing to do the Steps – ALL of the Steps. It is understoodthat any member could possibly have one or more absences; perfect attendance is not absolutely requiredbut certainly recommended. It is most helpful that everyone be present as much as possible and thatcommunications develop between the team members so that they know how the other team members areprogressing and how they are feeling about the team study.At this first meeting you should determine the following:1. Definite meeting place and time. Check over the calendar for the upcoming months so if therewill be any conflicts with the meeting time (Vacations, Final Four, Derby Week, Holidays, etc.)These should be plotted out in advance so that confusion can be avoided later on.2. As the meetings are generally held in someone’s home, and you all will want coffee, coke, etc.,some sort of “kitty” arrangement should be set up at this time to defray expenses.3. Make sure that everyone understands that for the first few weeks, through week #7, each personwill be responsible for writing out on paper his/her comments and reflections on a certain portion ofthe Big Book. These comments will be read aloud to the group at the next meeting, and will be readverbatim, without ad-libbing.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK TWO: Read the Preface, Forewords to the First, Second, Third andFourth Edition plus the Doctor’s Opinion. Buy your notebook and write down your own reaction to thematerial you have read. Your written reaction to the reading assignment will be read aloud to the groupverbatim without ad-libbing.In a separate section of your notebook, begin to write “How I was powerless over alcohol”. It is equallyimportant to write any reservations you may have that you are, in fact, powerless over alcohol. This writing will become a running log of your thoughts, memories, identifications etc. as you study throughChapter 4 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. At each meeting, the team members will read what theyhave written on powerlessness during that week. It is important that you share your progress, as well asyour misgivings, on Step One in the group -WEEK TWO (BEGINNING OF DISCUSSION ON STEP ONE)DateChairpersonNote that the Foreword to the First Edition states: “To show other alcoholics precisely how we haverecovered is the main purpose of this book.” Compare this with the language on page 29 at the end ofchapter two where it is stated, “Further on, clear cut directions are given showing how we recovered.”This is the task this team is about to undertake.At the beginning of the meeting, each person should read aloud their notes on their reaction to the reading assignment and their writing on “How I am powerless over alcohol.” After everyone has read thierassignment, The chairperson should read the 6 questions below aloud and open the floor forPage 3

discussion.The questions will help stimulate discussion on the material read and help the team membersshare in terms of their own experience.1. Were you aware that your illness affected both your mind and your body?2. Have you ever experienced the phenomena of “Craving”? (page xxvi)3. Did you reach the point where you could not differentiate the “True from the False”?4. Did your alcoholic life seem normal to you?5. The Doctor seems to say that a “Psychic change” must occur. What is a psychic change?(Spiritual awakening?)6. Can you accept the fact that alcoholism “has never been, by any treatment with which we arefamiliar, permanently eradicated”?These and other questions will occur to the group, and each should be discussed at some length if theyweren’t discussed in the open discussion portion of the meeting.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK THREE: Read chapter one, “Bill’s Story,” and write down your reactionto this chapter. Be prepared to discuss this material as it applies to your life. Continue to write how youare powerless over EK THREE (CONTINUING DISCUSSION OF STEP ONE)DateChairpersonAt the beginning of the meeting, each person should read aloud their notes on chapter one, “Bill’s Story”and this week’s additions to their writing on “powerlessness.” Next, the chairperson should read the 14questions below and open the floor for discussion.1. Did you ever ask, “was I crazy?” ( page 5)2. Did you ever feel the remorse, horror and hopelessness of the next morning? (page 6)3. Did your ever seek oblivion? (page 6)4. Did your mind ever race uncontrollably? (page7)5. Did you ever feel lonely? (page 8)6. Did you ever feel fear? (page 8)7. What was your reaction to religion, the church and God? (page 10)8. Note what happened to Bill’s prejudice against “Their God” when he began to apply his own concept of God. (page12)9. Did you know that “nothing more was required of me to make my beginning” than willingness ora willingness to believe?10. Doesn’t Bill essentially take the First through the Eleventh Steps at this time? (page 13)11. Notice how Bill was instructed to find God’s Will and pray. (page 13)12. Has your common sense become “uncommon sense”? (page 13)13. Does Bill take the Twelfth Step? (page 14)14. Does the program work in all of Bill’s affairs? (page 15)The foregoing are simply samples of questions that may occur or points that may be raised. What was ofparticular significance to you in this chapter? What did you find that you could not accept?ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK FOUR: Read chapter two, “ There Is A Solution,” write down your reactions and be prepared to discuss these reactions. Continue to write how you are powerless over alcoholand begin to write down your thoughts on how your life has become unmanageable.Page 4

----------------------------------------WEEK FOUR (CONTINUING DISCUSSION OF STEP ONE)DATECHAIRPERSONAt the beginning of the meeting, each person should read aloud their notes on chapter two, “There is aSolution” and their writing about “powerlessness and unmanageability.” Next, the chairperson shouldread the 17 questions below and open the floor for discussion.1. What parts of the chapter can you apply to your life?2. What is your reaction to the membership of A.A.?3. Did your alcoholism “engulf all whose lives touched the sufferer’s” and what was their reaction?4. Do you see how you can reach another alcoholic? (page 18)5. Note on page 20, the book answers “What do I have to do?”6. Have you been asked the questions on page 20 by yourself or others and what were the answers?7. From your examination of yourself in the past weeks and your reading of this chapter, are you a“Real Alcoholic?”8. If not, why not? Discuss this with your team.9. Did you have control over alcohol?10. Did you do absurd and incredible and tragic things while drinking?11. Were you a Jekyll and Hyde?(These questions and observations on page 21 may help you with your writing on powerlessnessover alcohol):12. Why did we drink the way we did? (page 22)13. Why do we take that one drink? Why can’t we stay on the water wagon?14. What has become of the common sense and the will power that we still sometimes display onother matters?15. Did you ask yourself these questions?16. Had you lost the power of choice described on page 24?17. Have your ever said “What’s the use anyhow?”“There Is A Solution” (page 25) “The great fact is just this and nothing less: That we have had deep andeffective spiritual experiences”. Read and understand the rest of this paragraph and Appendix II becauseit is an outstanding summary of what happens in the program.Our alternative to the solution is to “go on blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation asbest we could or to accept spiritual help”. Note that Appendix II is referred to again on page 27. It is suggested that the chairperson read Appendix II aloud and open a discussion of what it contains.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK FIVE: Go back to the notes you started on “managing” your life. Asthoughts occur to you about whether you can or cannot manage your life, continue to write them down.Read chapter three, “More About Alcoholism,” and write down your WEEK FIVE (CONTINUING DISCUSSION OF STEP ONE)DATECHAIRPERSONAt this time, each person should read their notes on chapter three, “More About Alcoholism” and theirnotes on unmanageability. After everyone has read their notes, the chairperson should read aloud the 7Page 5

questions below and open the floor for discussion.1. Did you have the “great obsession”? (page 30)2. Has your writing in your notebook listed those things you attempted to do to control your use ofalcohol and your failure to do so?3. Did you have reservations of any kind of any lurking notion that you will some day be immune toalcohol? (page 33)4. Can you identify with the mental states that precede a relapse into drinking?5. Do you understand that these mental states are the “crux of the problem”? (page 35)6. Do you understand why an actual or potential alcoholic will be absolutely unable to stop drinkingon the basis of self-knowledge? (page 39)7. Note the doctor’s reaction to alcoholism on page 43. Also note the solution at the bottom of page43.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK SIX: Read chapter four, “We Agnostics.” Write down your reactions to thecontents of this chapter.By now you should have completed writing most of your memories about why you are powerless overalcohol and how your life is unmanageable. If you are having difficulty with these assignments, discussthis with the group. Also, your sponsor may be able to help you with ---------------------------------------------WEEK SIX (BEGIN DISCUSSION ON STEP TWO)DATECHAIRPERSONAt the beginning of the meeting, each person should read their reactions to chapter four, “We Agnostics.”Then the chairperson should read aloud the 18 questions below and open the floor for discussion.1. Do you accept the fact that you have only two alternatives if you are alcoholic--an alcoholicdeath or to live life on a spiritual basis? (page 44)2. Have you lacked power to manage your life? (page 45)3. Note that the “main object of the book is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourselfwhich will solve your problem”.4. Have you had honest doubts and prejudices about “God”? (page 45)5. What has been your reaction to the word, “God”?6. What will God look like, what will it be like when you find God, and where did you get theseideas?7. Had you abandoned the idea of God entirely? (page 45)8. Are you willing to lay aside your previous beliefs or prejudices and express even a willingness tobelieve in a Power greater than yourself? (page 47)9. What is your concept of God? (page 47)10. Do you recognize that when you say “yes” to question number 8, that you are “on the way”?(page 47)11. Note that the book once again refers you to Appendix II at this point. What is it that Appendix IIsays that is indispensable?12. Have you been open-minded or have you been obstinate, sensitive and unreasonably prejudicedabout discussion of God? (page 48)13. Now that you have completed this chapter, what reservations do you have?14. Have you been biased and unreasonably prejudiced about the “realm of the spirit”? (page 52)15. Did your ideas work? Will the God idea work? (page 52)Page 6

16. Are you really ready to fearlessly face and answer the proposition that “either God is everythingor he is nothing”? God either is or he isn’t; what is your choice to be?17. Do you believe that “when we drew near to God, God disclosed Himself to us?” (page 57)18. Remember what is written on page 28: If what we have learned and felt and seen means anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race, creed or color are children of a living Creatorwith whom we may form a relationship upon simple and understandable terms as soon as we arewilling and honest enough to try.Note: Next week, (week seven) begins discussion on Step Three. Make sure that everyone is comfortablewith Steps One and Two before you make the transition into Step Three. You are now at the end of ourdiscussion on Steps One and Two. At this point, the group should decide whether to spend another weekand review the first two Steps. Let your group conscience decide.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK SEVEN: Write in your notebook what you can believe about a powergreater than yourself. On another page, write what you cannot believe about God. These will be readaloud in the meeting next week.As you go forward from this point, it is those things which you believe or which fit into your conceptionof God which you will be using. You can be comforted in knowing that “our own conception, howeverinadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him.” (page 46)Read pages 58 through the third paragraph on page 63 (i.e., through the part which concludes StepThree) of chapter five, “How It Works,” and write down your WEEK SEVEN (STEP THREE)DATECHAIRPERSONEach person should read their reactions to pages 58 through 63 and their writing on what they can andcannot believe about a power greather than themselves. Then the chairperson should read aloud the following 8 questions and open the floor for discussion.1. Do you question whether you are capable of being honest with yourself?2. Note the state of mind you are asked to have when you start the Steps–honesty, fearlessness, thoroughness and a willingness to go to any length.3. What do half measures avail us?4. Are you convinced that a life based on self-will can hardly be a success? (page 60)5. Can you see the effects of self-centeredness in your life? How have you been self-centered?6. Did you know that you could not reduce self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on yourown power? (page 62)7. Are you willing to make the decisions set fourth at the bottom of page 62?8. Note the promises that follow the taking of Step Three as described at the top of page 63. Areyou willing to take this Step?Many groups at this point commit to one another that they are going to take this Step and then recite theThird Step Prayer together. (page 63)This is the end of discussion on Step Three. Before proceeding, make sure that all team members areready to go on to the Fourth Step.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK EIGHT: Many readers find the instructions for Step Four confusing andcomplex. The following guide was written to clarify the Forth Step, as it is described in the Big Book, bybreaking the process down into its basic components and putting them in order. Those who have takenPage 7

this Step in accordance with the instructions given in the Big Book--including the inventory, the analysis,the study and prayer suggested by the book--have found it to be an exciting and rewarding experience.This experience is available to anyone who will complete, to the best of their ability, the followinginstructions in the order in which they are given.I. The time and purpose of Step FourPerhaps the greatest promise of the program of A.A. is that God, as you understand him, will do for youwhat you cannot do for yourself. This promise carries with it the obvious condition that you must dowhat you can.When you have made the decision required by Step 3, the Big Book warns us “though our decision wasa vital and crucial Step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effortto face and be rid of the things in ourselves which have been blocking us (from God).so we had to getdown to causes and conditions. Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory.”II. What do we seek?The inventory is described as a “fact-finding and fact-facing process.” We are seeking the truth aboutourselves and honestly taking stock of our lives. We are to search out the flaws in our makeup whichcaused our failure.Throughout the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, it is stated that self, selfishness and self-centeredness werethe root of our troubles. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeatedus, we considered its common manifestations. These common manifestations are grouped in three categories–resentment, fear and sex/relationships. Each of these is treated separately in the inventory.Inventory of resentments.The specific instructions for taking this Step are contained in the Big Book on pages 64 though 71.Weeks 8 through 10 deal with the resentment portion of the inventory. The portion of these instructionswhich pertain to the assignment for Week Eight is contained in the last three paragraphs on page 64through the example on page 65. Read those paragraphs now.Preparation1. Purchase a spiral notebook and open it so that you have a blank page on both sides of the wirespiral. With a ruler or straight edge, divide each of these pages vertically so that when both pagesare divided, you have a total of four columns (see illustration on next page). Turn the page andrepeat this process until you divided several pages in this manner.2. The columns on each page should be labeled as follows:Column 1: NameColumn 2: CauseColumn 3: Affects myColumn 4: Should be left blank for the time being.Page 8

Resentments–the number one offenderFrom these thoughts or mental attitudes “stems all forms of spiritual disease”. We are instructed to list allpeople, institutions or principles with whom we are angry or had resentments. What is a resentment?A. Webster’s Dictionary defines “resentment” as “indignation or ill will felt as a result of real orimagined offense.” Webster then refers the reader to a word “anger” and gives other examples ofthis thought or feeling which include rage, ire, wrath, resentment and indignation. These wordsdenote varying degrees of displeasure from anger (strong, intense and explosive) to the longer lasting resentment (ill will and suppressed anger generated by a sense of being wronged or beingwrong).B. In summary and broadly defined, we are dealing with a negative or unpleasant thought or feelingcaused or generated by the real or imagined act, or failure to act, of a person, institution or principle.C. Persons, institutions or principles may need some explantation. Remember you are a “person”and your action or failure to act may very well cause you to think or feel badly (guilt–a resentmentat yourself). Institutions are any group of people–authorities, companies, governmental agencies orother organizations. A principle is a basic truth or law. Many of these basic truths or laws have, anddo, offend us. For example: Alcoholism is an incurable, progressive disease. Honesty is the best policy. As you give, you receive (each of us suffers the consequences of his own action–no free lunch).Page 9

When you are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with you, etc.Begin writing Step FourIn column one of your notebook, under “Name”, list the names of the people, institutions and principleswhich have or do cause you to have resentment as defined above. As you go,write a few words whichdescribe each and every event or circumstance you can recall which causes you to resent the person,institution or principle. This should be written in column 2 , under “Cause,” adjacent to each of thenames in column 1. This is a very important part of the analysis; we learn from specific events–not fromgeneral complaints. For example, we learn very little from the complaint, “he was always lying”, but welearn much from the specific, “he told me he wasn’t married”. See page 64 of the Big Book for an example. Repeat this process for each person, institution and principle for which you have or had a resentment.Column 1 and 2 should be complete for all your resentments before the next team meeting.Certain points should be remembered:1. If you can remember the resentment, you should list it, even though you think you are “over it”.Go back through your life–”nothing counts but thoroughness and honesty.” If you have taken previous inventories in A.A. and are honestly over the resentments you listed then, don’t rehash themnow.2. A review of family albums, school annuals and the like may help you be thorough. Some peoplewrite a short autobiography of their life to assist them in remembering resentments.3. Do not concern yourself with whether you should or should not have the feeling; just make thelist of names and causes–but nothing more at this point.4. Throughout the taking of Step Five and thereafter, you will recall other people, institutions andprinciples which have caused these negative thoughts and feelings. You can add to this list at anytime, but do not spend too much time worrying about how complete the list is. Simply do the bestyou can during the week before the next group EK EIGHT (BEGIN STEP FOUR)DATECHAIRPERSONDiscuss all the material contained in your assignment. Now that we are into the actual writing of theinventory, it is no longer necessary to write down your reactions to the material read. Open discussionshould be on the assignment subjects and on columns 1 and 2 of your resentment inventory.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK NINE: When you have completed listing all your “names” and “causes,”each resentment listed will be analyzed. Step Four will mean very little unless you come to reallyunderstand each resentment. The following procedure has proven helpful in this understanding andanalysis:In column 3, opposite each of the events you have listed in column 2, write down why this event orcircumstance bothered you. Specifically ask yourself these questions: Did it affect my self-esteem (the way I think of myself or want others to think of me)? Did it affect my security? Did it affect my pocketbook? Did it affect my ambition (what I wanted or needed)? Was one of my personal relationships affected or threatened?Page 10

Do I have fear in connection with this resentment? If yes, then note the fear in column threeand write a short description of the fear so that you analyze it later in the fears portion of yourinventory. How does this resentment relate to pride, anger, lust, envy, gluttony, sloth or greed?It is beneficial to write why each of these events or circumstances bothered you in your own words,as opposed to merely doing a checklist from the above. (How was your security affected? How didthe event affect the way others think of you, etc?) If the effects listed above do not accuratelydescribe the effect the event had upon you, write a few words to explain how you felt and how youwere affected.COMPLETE COLUMN 3 (THE “AFFECTS MY” ANALYSIS) OF YOUR RESENTMENTSARISING FROM EACH OF THE EVENTS YOU LISTED IN COLUMN 2 BEFORE GOINGFURTHER WITH THE WEEK NINE (CONTINUING STEP FOUR)DATECHAIRPERSONDiscuss all the material on the assignment pages and any problems the members of the team may be having in filling out the first three columns in their resentment analysis notebook. The chairperson may askif anyone would care to talk about one or two of his/her resentments which are on the list. This sometimes serves as an “ice breaker” for some of the shyer members of the team. This also allows the newermembers to see that their lists aren’t so bad after all.ASSIGNMENT FOR WEEK TEN: Below are intructions for completing column 4 of your resentmentinventory.Read and study the Big Book from the paragraph that begins at the bottom of page 65 through the second paragraph on page 67.The Beginning Of Growth: As noted earlier, it is a spiritual axiom that whe

This Study Guide has proven helpful in providing structure and guidance for learning to work the Twelve-Step Program, as it is described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, in small groups