Nov 6, 2009

WEEKLY UPDATE: Taking the First Step

Summary: A year ago, I started a 12-step journey, based on the original 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. So many 12-step groups exist today; their premise is always the same: inner growth through intense self-honesty. Taking the first step is the most important part of this and any personal journey.

This week, I dusted off some old journals and workbooks and re-read them to get some perspective on my life. What a difference a year makes! One year ago this month, I started working with a 12-step program—based on the original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous—in order to gain a deeper sense of personal responsibility and inner peace. (These two ideas may seem antithetical, but they can coexist!)

A number of different groups have co-opted the 12 steps for a variety of different reasons—from staying sober to breaking abusive cycles in any number of areas. (See Wikipedia's list of just some of the growing number of programs available today.) My own first introduction to working the 12-step concept was through a prosperity consciousness class.

Gaining intense personal insight is the ultimate goal of any 12-step-based course or program. And the first step—with any personal journey—is always the most important, for it's with that first footfall that you make your commitment to your course. And none of us can move forward without serious honesty, both with ourselves and others.

Here is a generic version of the 12 steps:

(1) Admit I am powerless over (my problem); that my life has become unmanageable (because of my futile efforts to control the problem)

(2) Come to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity (this often varies based on religious/spiritual beliefs)

(3) Make a decision to turn my will & my life over to the care of this power as I understand it

(4) Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself

(5) Admit to this power, myself, & another human being the exact nature of my wrongs

(6) Am entirely ready to have this higher power remove all these defects of my character

(7) Humbly ask this higher power to remove my shortcomings

(8) Make a list of all the people I've harmed, & become willing to make amends to them all

(9) Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so injures them or others

(10) Continue to take personal inventory, & when I am wrong, promptly admit it

(11) Seek through prayer & meditation to improve my conscious contact with the power greater than myself as I understand this power, praying only for knowledge of (my power's) will for me and the ability to carry that out

(12) Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, try to carry this message to others (who face my problem), & to practice these principles in all my affairs

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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