12-Step Guide to Helping the Euro Zone Sober Up

Euro zone leaders may feel like they are amid the throes of the longest hangover ever as the region’s economies lurch from crisis to crisis, struggling with an addiction to debt and finding it hard to sober up.

But never fear, CNBC is on hand to help with its Twelve Steps guide to put the euro zone back on the path to recovery.

Based on the now iconic guide by the global Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) organization, the original guide notes that before you can solve your addiction, you need to recognize that you have a problem. That could be a lesson for Spain in particular, which has consistently refused it needs aid.


1. Admit we are powerless over our debt – that our economies have become unmanageable.

2. Come to believe that a power greater than ourselves (Germany, the ECB, Troika, IMF) can restore us to sanity.

3. Make a decision to turn our will and our economies over to the care of (see above).

4. Make a searching and fearless economic inventory of our nations.

5. Admit to the EU, IMF and ECB the exact nature of our economic wrongs.

6. Be entirely ready to have the ECB/Germany/troika remove all the defects of our economies, in return for punitive austerity.

7. Humbly ask our private creditors to write off our debts and the troika to be gentle with their conditions.

8. Make a list of all the persons not paying tax, claiming too generous welfare benefits and retiring early, and be willing to tell them the freebies are over.

9. Refrain from reinstating generous benefits in future when the current debt crisis is resolved.

10. Continue to take an economic inventory, regularly and electronically. Clamp down on backhanders and computerize tax systems.

11. Stand firm in the face of protests to keep creditors happy and improve relations with our richer European neighbors.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, carry this message to other profligate nations so that they practice these principles and avoid being part of a crisis that threatens the global economy.