Monday, 16 July 2012

The Principles of the 12 Steps

From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

Step 1.   We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.           
Step 2.   Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3.   Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step 4.   Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5.   Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6.   Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7.   Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8.   Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9.   Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

(Reprinted from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 59 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.)

The steps in the AA program, which are also used in Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and other recovery programs, are a process of healing and spiritual growth.  Step1 is the only non- spiritual step where we surrender to powerlessness and unmanageability in our lives.  Step 2 and 3 introduces the higher power where we make a decision that we are willing to believe.  Insanity is the doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome although experience shows us that this will never happen.  Step 4 is where we take an inventory of our pasts and analyse our resentments, fears and harms done to others.  This step highlights the areas where we have been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and inconsiderate.  Steps 5 to 9 are the action steps to seek forgiveness of our past actions due to our character defects and make amends to others.  Finally, steps 10 and 11 are the maintenance steps, where we continue the program on a daily basis. Step 12 is taking what we have learned so freely and paying it forward by helping other fellow addicts. 

The steps are in a certain order for a reason. They are a design for living.  If followed correctly we should overcome our obsession of our disease through honesty, open mindedness and willingness.  Love and tolerance is our code.  Unconditional love and tolerance of others are essential to live a life free of resentments and conflict.

Believing is the beginning of each thing that we accomplish in our lives.  To be successful, believing must become strong enough to incite a decision, which is a choice of action.  Once this decision is made, it has to become strong enough to incite action.  Once the action becomes strong enough, it will bring about results.  Once the results are plain and clear, we will have faith.  Faith is true knowledge that comes as the result of action. The 12 steps are based on this plan.  These are the principles by which humankind has succeeded of failed.  So what are the principles?

Principles of the 12 Steps:

1.   Surrender.                                                                    
2.   Hope.
3.   Commitment.
4.   Honesty.
5.   Truth.
6.   Willingness.
7.   Humility.
8.   Reflection.
9.   Amendment.
10. Vigilance.
11. Attunement.
12. Service.

Faith is knowledge that comes as a result of a complete process. Many people fail because they are expecting true knowledge by faith before they make a decision to take action and get results.  We cannot begin with faith.  We can only believe in the beginning.  But this is all we need to get started.

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