Step Review and Introduction for 12 Steps in 1 Hour Sessions
Welcome to ES&F 12 Steps in 1 Hour Sessions that will change your life.
Before we begin, let’s have a moment of silence/meditation to invite the God of our own understanding into our hearts and to ask for an open mind and the willingness to have a new experience… followed by the “The Set Aside Prayer”…
“Dear God, we invite you into this room, to guide and direct each of us as we seek Your Truth. Please set aside within each of us anything that would block us. Lay aside our prejudices about what we think we know about ourselves, our disease of COE, this meeting, the steps and our spiritual condition. Remove our fears that we may hear Your Truth through the members of this group. Give us the strength and courage to share Your Truth with each other in a real spirit of Love and Compassion for our fellow man” We ask that we may have a truly open mind, so we might have a new experience with these things and come to know You better. Please help us see the Truth. Amen”
The goal of the 12 Steps in 4 Hours Back to Basics Workshop is to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of program. Taking the steps, as we are doing now, is not a substitution for going further by working and growing daily.
This means, after we do the steps, we still need to:
- Carefully read and re-read the AA Big Book. Attend meetings.
- Study the program.
- Daily practice of the program through prayer, meditation and a daily inventory.
- Participate in our Fellowship by talking and sharing daily with other people.
Historically, in early AA literature, as seen in The Table Mate, the steps were divided into 4 broad categories:
- Admission phase: step 1
- The spiritual phase: steps 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 11
- Inventory/ restitution phase: steps 4 & 10; steps 8 & 9
- Service/ Active Work: step 12
Do you want to stop eating compulsively?
Are you willing to go to any lengths to stop?
Are you abstinent today?
When was the last time you ate compulsively?
Do you want to work the steps together?
Steps 1 – 3 are about getting right and making peace with God
Step 1 is the admission/identification/foundation step
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
Do you concede to your innermost self that you are powerless over your compulsive eating behaviors and that you cannot manage your own life? (Step 1, Read pg. 30)
Do you have any reservations or lingering ideas that one day you will be immune to or UNAFFECTED by compulsive eating behaviors?
Step 2 offers the solution; Submission Phase
Step 2 Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Do you now believe, or are you willing to believe in a Power Greater than yourself? (Step 2, Read pg. 47)
Do you believe God can and that He will relieve you of your compulsive eating behaviors if you seek Him? (Step 2)
When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crises we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn’t. What was our choice to be? (pp 53)
Either God is everything or else He is nothing. Either God is or He isn’t. What is your choice to be?
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him.
Are you convinced that you are a food addict and cannot manage your own life?
Are you convinced that no human power can relieve you of your compulsive eating behaviors?
Are you convinced that God can and that He will relieve you of your compulsive eating behaviors?
Have you made a decision to turn your thinking and your actions over to the care of God, as you understand Him?
Have you decided to go through with the remaining steps in the program of recovery?
Are you willing to have God guide your recovery and your life?
If the answer is yes* to all of these questions then take the Third Step Prayer together:
Step Three Prayer: God I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love, and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!
Abandon your life to God with the most self-surrender you can possibly muster.
Steps 4 – 7 are about getting right and making peace with Self
Inventory Phase: Step 4; Confession Phase: Step 5 and Spiritual Phase: Steps 6 & 7
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
We must find out what we’ve got, what we need to get rid of, and what we need to acquire. “Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four.” [69:3] (64:1) (Inventory definition is “a detailed LIST”)
In step 4, we look at our resentment (wrong judgements), our fears (wrong beliefs) and our wrong actions (harms done to others). We take a look at how our behavior has become warped to justify our continued behaviors.
There is no right or wrong way to do a 4th step. It can be done with the liabilities as they apply to the specific resentment, fear or harm; or, they can be addressed in a more general way: where and to whom have you been dishonest, selfish, full of false pride……?”
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Have you admitted to God, yourself and another human being the exact nature of your wrongs?
Steps 6 & 7: Surrender & Spiritual Phase
How do we change? CHANGE = SURRENDER + ACTION
The formula for change is the combination of surrender and action. Once we become aware of our defects, which we found when we did our inventory, we are left with a decision. Do we act out and fix the discomfort, or do we take action and look for a solution?
In our inventory we learned that this is how we react to people who we feel injured us:
PEOPLE DO US WRONG + WE RESENT THEM + WE STAY SICK + WE DRINK/EAT = WE LOSE
Now, we begin to apply the process below that over time will change our character defects into character assets:
PEOPLE DO US WRONG + WE TAKE OUR INVENTORY + WE MAKE CHANGES + WE STAY CLEAN = WE LIVE
Simple, but not easy! This is deep and powerful work (step 7).
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
This step asks us whether or not we are entirely willing to have God remove all our defects of character. Are we willing, in other words, to behave differently from the way we have in the past?
In step 6, we take all that we have learned in the preceding steps and become willing to let God remove our defects of character.
What is willingness? It’s basically an open-mindedness, humility and cheerfulness – a willing, cheerful consenting as opposed to will power and trying to control ourselves. “Will I?’ compared to “I will!”
Taking step 6:
Are you willing to let God remove and take away the character defects (defective thinking) that you found in your inventory? Be specific. i.e., selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, fear, jealousy, envy, false pride, laziness and any other defects that may have come up when you took your 5th step, which you will need for Step 7.
If not, are you willing with prayer to ask God to help you to be willing?
(Make a list of these character defects and include them in step 10 and 11 work, as part of your daily and spot check inventory)
Observe a moment of silence.
After this, we take Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
In Step 7, we humbly – respectfully – ask Him to remove the defects of character we found while doing our inventory to the extent that they stand in the way of our usefulness to Him and our fellows. We let go of self-will and commit to living in God’s will. We become willing to change.
So we take whatever position we use when praying that expresses humility to God, as we understand Him.
Say 7th step prayer: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” (76:2) We have then completed Step Seven.
Saying the 7th step prayer is the conclusion of all the work we did to get to this point.
Humility = respectfully: sensitive to the feelings and honor of another person.
Steps 6 and 7 are never completed. We apply them daily in our lives. The removal of some of our character defects and the reduction of others is a lifelong process.
Through continuing to incorporate the remaining 5 steps, making amends where needed, taking a daily inventory, daily prayer and meditation, and working with others — our very lives will become the answer to the 7th step prayer. We will have a new awareness of self and our place in the world. This new awareness is the beginning of God-consciousness.
At this point it is time to clear away the wreckage of our past. We do this by making amends and restitution to others.
Peace with Others Getting Right with Others (Steps 8 & 9) Restitution – clear away the wreckage of the past
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
“We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory.” (76:3)
Taking Step 8: You made a list when you wrote your 4th step inventory and beginning your 9th step amends signifies your continued willingness.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
“Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves.” [91:1] (76:3)
Taking step 9: Will you begin to make amend this coming week?
Maintaining our peace with God, Self and Others: What do I need to do to maintain and grow in recovery? Living in the solution — Construction and Maintenance Phase
The tenth step inventory and the prayer and meditation of the eleventh step are meant to be a part of our daily spiritual practice as our way of keeping in fit spiritual condition.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
(84:2) we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along.
(84:2) Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.
Taking Step 10: Will you continue to take a personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as you go along?
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
(85:2) Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power.
If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense.
Morning Meditation (86:2) On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
Evening Meditation (86:1) When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all?
What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or, were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others.
(86:1) After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
Taking Step 11: Will you pray and meditate daily? If you answer yes, you have begun taking Step 11.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Principle: Service or Awakening into sober usefulness
(89:1) “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.
Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people around us. (p 77)
Taking Step 12:
Will you carry this message to other alcoholics, and practice these principles in all your affairs? If you answer yes, you have begun taking Step 12.