Below is the strength-based version of the 12-Steps that was included in a column, "Creativity Matters", for Counselor magazine.
1. I am very powerful over my drug or behavior of addiction as long as I don’t put the substance in my body or behavior into action. And my life won’t become unmanageable if I attend to my needs and have regular interaction with some source(s) of sober support.
2. Came to believe that a Power within me would restore me to health and sanity through self-discipline and daily structure.
3. Made a decision to turn my will resolutely to a focus on sobriety, productivity and the consequent sanity of my improved sense of self.
The basis of the 12-steps is on an overt and blanket admission of powerlessness over alcohol and other drugs. Operating under the axiom that, “I get drunk and we get sober,” AA encourages members of its fellowship to find God, clean house and help others. Here’s my take on introspection:
4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of my positive attributes and committed to further enhancing these strengths.
5. Admitted to myself that my past is not my present or future and that I have much to accomplish in honoring my gifts and through service of others.
6. Were entirely ready to accept the help of others in enhancing my positive attributes and strength of character.
Ultimately AA was given life by the initial June 10, 1935 meeting in Akron, Ohio between the six-month sober Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who was in his cups and very skeptical of the man before him and Wilson’s views on the recovery that had proven so elusive for Dr. Bob. Wilson instinctively knew that he needed others to stay sober:
7. Humbly asked for the help of others to join me in this sweet journey of sobriety, dedicating myself to self-improvement and growth in the process.
8. Made a decision to abstain from harmful thinking and behaviors, and surround myself with “nutritious” people who will feed a positive sense of me as a valued individual and friend.
9. Made amends and forgave myself for the actions of my past, which I acknowledge harmed others and me. Not willing to be stuck, I am committed to moving forward in a spirited not a shameful
The prayer and meditation emphasized by the 12-Steps can easily be seen via daily structure and self-discipline viewed through a spiritual prism of intention:
10. Continued to observe my goodness through mindfulness and when veering from my path of purpose, gently guide myself back on track.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with the still quiet voice within, praying for guidance and direction.
12. Having had a revitalization of my spirit and purpose, I’ll share my message of hope with others needing encouragement.
Copyright Feb. 2010 Thomas M. Greaney