The Twelve Step Triangle and What It Means for Early Sobriety

sunset in field with man looking into distance with hands raised and 12 step triangle in center

Scattered throughout the rooms of recovery and within recovery literature are countless different sayings, slogans, and symbols related to the program and sobriety.

There are so many, that it often times is quite easy to overlook the meaning of some of the more common ones. For example, the Twelve Step triangle that serves as the symbol for Alcoholic’s Anonymous is located all over our literature and even on our recovery coins.

But what does this triangle stand for? And what does it mean for early sobriety? Here we breakdown the Twelve Step Triangle.

mage result for twelve step triangle


The unity portion of the recovery triangle stands for the fellowship aspect of recovery. The most obvious example of the fellowship part of the program is the recovery meetings. Meetings are an absolutely crucial part of the program; to the extent many old timers affectionately refer to them as their “medicine”.

Meetings provide the newcomers with the opportunity to meet people, form a support group, find a sponsor, and hear the experience, strength, and hope of others.


The service portion of the recovery triangle is the most obvious of the three: it stands for service work to the fellowship and our fellows in and out of the program. One of the famous paradoxes of the Twelve Step recovery program is that in order to keep what we have (our sobriety), we must give it away continuously to newcomers.

It does not matter how much time we have in the program! We can always be of service. Some of the most vital service work opportunities are available to newcomers, such as setting up the meetings or making coffee for the meetings.


Orange and yellow background with people sitting in circle and 12 step recovery triangle with letters AA in the center

And finally, recovery stands for the Twelve Steps that make up the program. The Twelve Steps can be accurately summed up in three portions: trust God, clean house, and help others. It is through the Twelve Steps that we see that our lives could not continue to go on as they had.

We then take a leap of faith that a power greater than ourselves (whether it be God, the rooms of recovery, etc) will help free us of our problem. We then take a look at our past actions, and make amends for them where possible. Finally, we pass on what we have achieved to a newcomer.


So What Does This Mean for Those of us in Early Sobriety?

It is very useful for us that the triangle can be found on the back of our recovery coins and on much of our literature! It provides a great reminder of the balance we are trying to strike in our program while we are in early sobriety.

The program calls for progress not perfection, meaning that in all likelihood we will never find the perfect balance in the program that the triangle represents. If we strive for this balance, however, we will never have to hurt from drugs or alcohol ever again.

Final Note

The Lodges is the premier Orange County sober living and structured living community for men and women who are either in the early stages of recovery or transitioning from primary care.

We understand the need for a structured and safe environment for individuals who need the added encouragement on their journey. If you or a loved one is seeking sober living in beautiful Orange County please call us at (866)-610-4480 or visit us online.

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