The Twelve Steps
I love the Twelve Step program. It's what Alcoholics Anonymous is based around, but the steps are useful for facing any addictive behaviour or problem that seems insurmountable. I used this several years ago when I was struggling with a chronic pain problem (see June archives) and really benefited. The first three steps seem humbling, and they are, but it's amazing how freeing humility can be!
1. We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. We humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to those people wherever possible, except when to do so would harm them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, we promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had such a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.