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    « A Superhighway to Bliss | Main | Grape Expectations »

    Twelve Steps Revisited

    The following is offered not as a alternative, or substitute, to the traditional twelve steps of recovery programs, but simply as a way of extending and broadening our understanding of what recovery may be.

    1 We admitted to ourselves that we felt trapped, that the thing that we turned to for relief no longer worked, that in fact it was becoming more and more of a problem. Our reliance on it had become an addiction and it was more trouble than it was worth. We longed to be free of it.

    We saw how confused we were, and lost, and recognized the need to reference something greater than our own limited understanding and capabilities, some "higher power" that could provide us with structure and support so that we could begin our work of self-recovery.

    We allowed ourselves to begin to trust something other than our own habits and limiting beliefs. We stopped supporting, justifying and protecting our addiction and began to turn against it.

    2 We began to trust that it was possible to find healthy, sustainable ways to feel good again. We saw that others had done it.

    We understood that we had lost our way, that we had given our freedom and our happiness away to something that was a poor substitute for what we really wanted. And we saw that we needed to remember who we were --  that we seemed to have forgotten our true self.

    We needed to learn how to safeguard and care for ourselves. We needed to get back our dignity and our strength, and in doing so, we understood that we would do well to look for and accept support -- in the form of inspiration, guidance, and fellowship, and to accept the idea that we were part of something greater than our present understanding, and that we were willing to find out whether we could ask for and receive support from that higher power.

    3 We decided it would be better to stop struggling and trying to control things, to stop resisting and avoiding, and to simply acknowledge that we were no longer willing to live in a way that no longer felt good to us, that we didn't want to suffer, or feel desperate, or insist that we were right any longer. We decided that we wanted to feel good again and we began to learn, from ourselves and from others and from life itself, how to recover our sense of freedom and well being, how to better manage ourselves and our emotions, how to have peace and joy again.

    4 We began to recover more and more of a sense of ourselves as worthy and capable and resilient, we began to remember what it felt like to really feel good again, to trust again, and enjoy a new sense of freedom and comfort without sacrificing self-respect. We began to learn how to actually enjoy our lives again, and from this felt a sense of renewal, of hope.

    We began to see that pushing against what was unwanted didn't help. It made things worse. We began to discover that it is enough to focus solely on what was good and worthwhile and let go of the rest..

    5 We acknowledged many of the confusions and upsets, misunderstandings and hurts which led to our becoming so alienated and lost in the first place, and we learned how to make peace with them and let them go. We did this in stages and degrees, and when we got confused or side-tracked, we learned to come back to basics once again. We found out recovery wasn't just staying on track. It was learning to gracefully get back on track when we lost our balance.

    6 We began to understand that we are, and have always been, basically good, and well meaning at heart, though sometimes confused, and that God always saw us in this light -- as eternally good and worthy, and that any defects we saw in ourselves did not nullify our worth in God's sight.

    7 We became willing to learn to see ourselves as God sees us; as worthy, beloved children, doing our best to make our way in this world, and learning as we go along. We found it is enough to enjoy the simple pleasure of living moment to moment, that that childlike enjoyment of the world was enough.

    8. We allowed ourselves to begin to understand the value that we have in the lives of the people around us, and in the world, and began to see, as a result, that even though we sometimes failed to grasp it, we have always been loved and needed, wanted and appreciated.

    9 In feeling better about ourselves, we became able to once again enjoy giving to others, and it made us feel good to do so. In doing so, we began to get our lives back.

    10 We committed ourselves to valuing and supporting ourselves and others, and when we found ourselves criticizing self or others, we stopped it, and found things to appreciate instead.

    11 We sought, in every way we knew, to understand ourselves as part of something great and beautiful -- life itself, in both the world as we know it, and in the world that we are bringing into being.

    12 We began to have an understanding of our part in the grand scheme of things, and pledged to continued to find ways to enjoy our lives in healthy and meaningful ways, and in doing so, to always appreciate and joyfully support ourselves and others.

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