Category Archives: Twelve Steps

The Twelve Steps

Al-Anon’s Twelve Suggested Steps
Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps, copyright 1996 by
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. Reprinted with permission
of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.

Study of these Steps is essential to progress in the Al-Anon program. The principles they embody are universal, applicable to everyone, whatever his personal creed. In Al-Anon, we strive for an ever-deeper understanding of these Steps, and pray for the wisdom to apply them to our lives.

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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Again…it’s about me!

Sometimes I just can’t get past myself to really listen and empathize. I don’t intend to co-opt others’ feelings but I open my mouth and my own story flows.

I did this to a friend recently. She is in deep grief after the death of a mutual friend’s wife. We were discussing his welfare when my lesser self stepped in with my personal narrative. How did it feel when I was there? How have I reacted in similar situations? Worst of all…what would I do if it were me?

I think of my responses as commiseration. Sharing loss and hardship create rapport. And it’s all true.

But none of that is as valuable as a listening heart. Nothing is as important in a friendship as providing a safe haven without expectation and without judgment.

I owe my friend an apology. I hope I have the chance to listen again.

The Student


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Filed under Paths to Progress, Self-examination, Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves., When we know better, we do better

Thoughts on Spirituality

I was discussing women’s groups with an acquaintance. I have never thought of myself as having a women’s group. But gathering monthly with my friends on a regular schedule must fall into the category.

So when asked, I told her that I belong to two. I described one group as just friends who had begun meeting when we were all practicing our professions. (Each different areas, btw.) We enjoy each other’s company.

I described the second as a spiritual group.

I have thought about my response. What is spiritual in this context?

At any get-together someone might talk about her own faith in a given situation, but we are not faith-centered. God in all of his/her guises may come up in passing but we certainly don’t discuss theology of any sort. So why do I think of these women as spiritual? Because these women are spirit-filled in a totally “non-apostolic faith” manner.

At different times any one of us may have difficulty getting to the core of who we are and how we deal with our lives. But each of us is heartfelt in our desire to be honest in our responses. In our conversations, we do not voluntarily hide behind walls. We constantly expose ourselves by expressing our true feelings. We tell stories that show our weaknesses as well as our strengths.

This is truth to me. It is spiritual. Brené Brown calls it living “wholeheartedly”.

I am rejuvenated after being with this group of women. It feels restful to have spent an hour without any posturing or posing. Knowing that I don’t live this way all day, every day, gives me pause.

If I am to follow a spiritual path, I believe I must increase my time in this repose. It is being myself.

The Student

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Filed under More Teachers, Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.