(Apply to any situation and watch how it works)
1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
• What symptom of your disease did you see? (Anger, pain, jealousy, abandonment, frustration, inadequacy)
• At what time did you perceive that your disease had control? (What were you thinking, physically doing, or feeling?)
The first step happens…
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
• When did you “come to believe” before this situation? (Possibly a similar situation or just another situation that gave you the faith to continue on.)
• What is a power greater than self in this situation? (Is it a person, feeling, or…?)
• In coming to believe, acceptance is what happens. In accepting the situation and knowing that you do not need to stay there, balance is possible.
Sanity comes from balance
Now begins the action.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
• What is my will? (It is what I want to do.)
• What is my life? (It is everyday happenings that go on with my participation.)
• What are we going to turn over to the CARE OF GOD? (Symptoms that made your life unmanageable, i.e. anger, pain, jealousy, abandonment, frustration, inadequacy; See Step #1)
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
An inventory is a look at what I am and am not willing to live with today. In an inventory we deal with: “What is bothering me in the here and now”? (See: Basic Text page 28.) Do not confuse an inventory with a biography.
• List your assets.
• How often have I placed myself or been placed in this position?
• When was the last time I was in this or a similar situation?
• What did I do then? What was the outcome?
Make a list answering the following two questions:
• What am I willing to live with?
• What am I not willing to live with?
Changing the pattern.
Actively making changes according to what you are and what you are not willing to live with. If you find in your list that you are not willing to have things continue as they have in the past and/or are continuing now, then you must make a physical, mental and spiritual change. This is done by making a commitment to what you are willing to do. Make a commitment to self and follow through all the way. Never do half the job. Become involved, be a part of – not a part from. Stand up for what you believe in. Do not compromise your principles. You are worthy!
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Call or go see your sponsor or sponsee. Talk with them about all the above and how you came to this point. In doing this, you allow another person the opportunity to get to know you. This allows them the opportunity to tell you what they hear you saying rather than you making a determination on your own as to what is or what is not. We don’t always give ourselves a break or sometimes we give ourselves too much of a break.
6. We were entirely read to have God remove all these defects of character.
We have character traits, and have determined in the third step which of those character traits we are ready to have removed by allowing God to hold onto them. This gives us an opportunity to make a searching and fearless moral inventory. We asked God to take these defective character traits that He has in His care and remove them permanently. In doing this we give up all rights to manipulate the situation – to change the outcome.
7. We humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.
• What are shortcomings? It is our will wanting to take over to do what we want when we know we can’t or shouldn’t. (Many times it is our desire to manipulate circumstances to have the outcome the way we want it.)
What is our footwork here? To make a conscious effort not to repeat previous actions such as acting out rage, cussing endlessly. To practice what we are willing to live with as seen in Step 4. We must do the footwork to oversee our actions. In order to make changes, we must participate. God isn’t going to do it for us. God simply gives us the courage, strength, and ability to change.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
• Who has been, will be, could be and/or is being harmed? (Self and other person(s) in the situation, and those surrounding the situation.)
After applying these principles to similar situations, this list will get shorter and shorter. The time will come when there is no need to make a list. You will be able to see where you are in a situation, stop before you get caught up in your disease, and harm yourself and/or others. You will just need to look at everyone involved in the situation to determine who or what could be at risk.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
• How do you make amends to yourself, others and those who are no longer here?
For yourself: – FORGIVE YOURSELF AND CHANGE THE PATTERN! For those on your list – you must determine if it is ego or humility that motivates your amends. “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough.
• Why do you want to make amends to these people?
Remember that people are just that – people. They too are living according to how they believe and their own values.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Stay in the “right now.” Look at your part in the situation and what part you played in it.
• What was your part in the situation?
• Did you abuse, use or justify anything?
• Did you overcome your shortcomings and not repeat past reactions and/or behaviors?
• What have you been doing in the last few hours?
• Are you pleased with your actions and/or reactions?
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
In a situation when looking at the process, ask God to give you guidance in doing His will. Talk to God about all areas and be real honest with self-assessment. If you’re not honest with others, be honest with self so that you can remain a channel of God’s will.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
What is a spiritual awakening? It is what you have realized in working through this situation. It is an understanding or realization of a new way to live, a new way of feeling about self and those surrounding self. We have the opportunity to change, to grow, and gain the ability to become happy, joyous and free. Spiritual awakenings are a result of applying these (not step #1, step #2, or step #3) principles to EVERY situation in our lives.
The Basic Text states at the beginning of How It Works:
“If you want what we have to offer and are willing to make the effort to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps. These are the principles that made our recovery possible.