How Long Does It Take to Go Through the 12 Steps of AA?

How Long Does It Take to Go Through the 12 Steps of AA?

12 steps of AA

Twelve-step programs have helped alcoholics as well as people addicted to drugs overcome their addiction since the mid-1950s. Developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) co-founder Bill Wilson, the 12 steps can lead you to a successful recovery from your addiction. The first question you may have, though, is how long does it take to go through the 12 steps of AA?

90 Meetings in 90 Days

When you participate in the 12-step program, you will typically work with a sponsor. The idea of the sponsor came about from the very beginning of AA when Bill W. was tempted to take another drink and thought, “You need another alcoholic to talk to. You need another alcoholic just as much as he needs you!” Your sponsor will do everything possible to help you get sober and stay sober through the AA program. Your sponsor will also encourage you to attend AA meetings.

Most sponsors encourage the AA newcomer to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. That may seem like a lot and it may seem like a long time to commit to going to meetings. However, most 12-step programs, including those for people addicted to drugs, encourage new members to commit to those 90 meetings in 90 days. You need that commitment and that focus as you are fighting for your sobriety during the most challenging time of your recovery, when you are most vulnerable to relapse.

Different for Each Individual

Beyond the initial timeframe for attending meetings, there really is no set amount of time for you to go through the 12 steps of AA. Some of the steps involve making amends to those you may have hurt as a result of your alcoholism. For some people, that may take a day or two. For others, it may be a longer process that requires months or even years.

Effort More Important Than Time

As you work your way through the 12 steps of AA, your focus should be on making a difference in your life and in the lives of those who have been impacted by your addiction. It might take longer to complete some of the steps than it does others, but the time commitment is one you are making to your sobriety and to a successful recovery.

Getting Sober and Staying Sober

Detox programs can help you get sober. The 12 steps of AA can also help you get sober. What makes the difference, though, is staying sober for a long-term recovery from your addiction. Staying sober can be challenging, particularly when you are faced with temptations and triggers. That’s where your sponsor can also help you, by keeping you on track to complete your 12 steps.

Staying sober is so much more than simply not using drugs or alcohol. You will essentially be transforming your life, to live a healthier life and to learn new ways of coping with any difficulties you may face along the way. Going to meetings can help with that, as can taking your time and focusing on completing each of the 12 steps of AA with intent and sincerity.

Finding a 12-Step Meeting

AA meetings can help reinforce your path toward completing the 12 steps and toward staying sober. During normal times, the most effective meetings are those held in person. You can talk face-to-face with others who are addicted to alcohol or drugs, sharing experiences and celebrating accomplishments together.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, AA has adjusted to hosting virtual meetings. They have compiled a directory of online meetings that features over 1,000 worldwide options. AA emphasizes that by attending these virtual meetings, you can continue to focus on your recovery from alcoholism and on staying sober. Some AA groups are using digital platforms such as Zoom to try to keep the face-to-face interaction that can be so important to participants.

Many AA groups and members are also creating contact lists, keeping in touch by phone, email, or social media. AA wants to remind its members that it is not just a “place,” but exists in the hearts, minds and help offered.


When you are searching for 12 Step Programs, whether in the Austin area locally or virtually, Sober Austin is continuing to help by providing the resources you need. Here you will find up-to-date information on 12 Step Recovery/Meetings, 12 Step Support Programs, and 12 Step Alternatives. Check out our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to also contact us directly by calling (512) 522-7135 or emailing