SRS Wow. This feels right V. Non Religious AA people

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Creator, May 7, 2008.

  1. Creator

    Creator The Creator Has a Master Plan

    Sep 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I have a problem with the 12 steps in that it says <I> cant do this... GOD has to help me. It just doesnt click with me.

    I just spent 40 minutes on this page, reading the reworded 12 steps and writing down my thoughts about each.

    I havent felt this good and clear headed in a long time. It's amazing the things that come out... Some of the things I wrote surprised me. The things I figured out in less than an hour.

    Check it out, let me know what you guys think
  2. Creator

    Creator The Creator Has a Master Plan

    Sep 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Ill try to cut and paste this in, not sure if it will come out right.



    12 Steps

    The Proactive Twelve Steps

    To navigate forward or back, use the arrows in the Acrobat frame.

    12 steps workbook

    By Serge Prengel

    ISBN: 1-892482-06-1
    ISBN-13: 978-1-892482-06-8
    Copyright © 2006 Serge Prengel - All rights reserved
    Published by Proactive Change - New York, NY
    introduction the proactive 12 steps

    Personally and professionally, I am interested in how
    we make changes in our lives.
    I have long been interested in the twelve steps.
    Millions of people credit the “steps” for their recovery
    from addiction to alcohol and other substances. I do
    not have personal or professional experience in this
    area. So, you may wonder, how are these steps
    relevant to what I do?
    The original twelve steps were written by the people
    who started Alcoholics Anonymous. However, only the
    first step of A.A. says something about the struggle
    with alcohol. The other steps provide a framework to,
    essentially, "get a life".
    There's a logic to this: A.A.'s focus is on dealing with
    powerlessness and empowerment. One of their key
    insights is that the best way to abandon destructive
    habits is to have something better to look forward to.
    This is why they describe a path toward self-discovery
    and personal growth.

    This path can be a useful tool for your own "hero
    journey", the process of becoming who you really are.
    I believe that, as we develop a deeper sense of who
    we truly are, we increase our ability to lead a more
    fulfilling life. This, in turn, makes it easier to make
    difficult changes.
    In this book, you will find the traditional wording of
    the 12 steps together with an original approach: the
    "proactive 12 steps".
    With this new wording, and the accompanying
    commentary, my goal is to describe the “steps” as a
    self-directed process—as opposed to a mystical
    process in which change somehow happens to you.
    This is about how you can take a proactive role in
    your growth as a person.
    I originally wrote these steps for people who, like me,
    were not part of the “twelve steps” culture.
    Over time, many people involved in 12 steps recovery
    have told me that they find inspiration in these
    “proactive steps”: Not as a replacement for the
    wording they are so familiar with, but as a way to gain
    a new perspective on it.

    In any case, I am inviting you to see the “proactive
    steps” as an invitation to a dialogue, as opposed to a
    directive that is carved in stone.
    Let yourself explore what comes up for you as you go
    through the steps. Take the time to digest each step
    before moving on to the next.

    step one 1 > > > > > > > > > > >

    I realize I’m stuck.
    It makes no sense to keep trying to solve
    my problems with "solutions" that aren't

    Original wording (AA):
    We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our
    lives had become unmanageable.
    We admitted we were powerless over others - that our
    lives had become unmanageable.
    Generic version:
    We admitted we were powerless over things we
    believed we should control -- that our lives had
    become unmanageable.
    discussion 1 > > > > > > > > > > >

    Step One:
    A new beginning
    Somebody once said: If the only tool you have is a
    hammer, you try to solve everything by hammering.
    Well, if the hammer is not solving the problem, it may
    very well be time to try something else.
    The problem is, you may feel that the hammer really
    should be working… that it will actually work if you
    just try a little longer…
    There’s nothing wrong with persistence. But Step One
    introduces another consideration: accountability.
    It’s not enough to just say: I believe it will work one
    day if I just keep trying. You need to set goals and
    deadlines. Not for the sake of putting pressure on
    yourself… but in order to face the reality of what is
    Step One is looking squarely at reality. If what you’re
    doing is not working, you acknowledge that. When
    you do, you are left with a feeling of emptiness – you
    don’t know what to do, or even whether there is a
    solution. It can be really scary.
    Surprisingly, the emptiness allows you to make room
    for new, unexpected ideas.
    Will these steps work for me?
    Self-knowledge is helpful when you want to make
    changes in your life. The "proactive 12 steps" will help
    you gain self knowledge. This, in turn, will help you
    make the changes you want.
    But don’t just take my word for it. Keep track of
    what’s happening. Periodically ask yourself whether
    you are making progress. This means that you need to
    give some thought to how you will define and evaluate
    What if you’re dealing with addiction? When people
    say that the “twelve steps” helped them deal with
    addiction, they do not mean that they just read the
    steps. They credit twelve steps meetings and the peer
    support they provide. Even peer support may not be
    enough. If your habits are endangering yourself or
    others, you may need to see a qualified professional
    or go to a rehab program.
    The first step is about facing the reality of your
    situation. It makes no sense to keep trying to solve
    problems with "solutions" that can't work. Whenever
    you realize this, you need to look for a different
    In other words, the first step is not just the beginning
    of this process. It is an attitude. It is about staying
    grounded in reality as you keep track of your

    step two > 2 > > > > > > > > > >

    I'm willing to let go of my usual ways, in the
    hope that this will help me see things from a
    broader perspective.

    Original wording (AA):
    Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
    could restore us to sanity.

    discussion > 2 > > > > > > > > > >

    Step Two:
    Letting go
    In Step One, you realized the absurdity of clinging to
    "solutions" that don't work.
    Why then do you still cling to them? Probably because
    it feels somehow safer to have a "solution" (even one
    that doesn't work) rather than no solution at all.
    Step Two is about letting go of these useless
    "solutions" to make room for new ones.
    Now, of course, there is absolutely no guarantee that
    you will find a solution that works. There's a big
    difference between hoping that things work out, vs.
    expecting and demanding that they do.
    It is quite possible that your fears will turn out to be
    realized. But, even then, you can keep the hope that
    there’s still potential for happiness, even after your
    fears are realized.

    In other words, Step 2 is about letting go of the old,
    narrow sense of who you are because it doesn't work
    (even though you somehow believe it should work)...
    A new perspective
    There once was an actor who couldn't use his voice
    the way he wanted to. At some point, he decided to
    stop trying so hard to make the sounds he wanted
    happen. Instead, he started paying close attention to
    how he made sounds - not just his voice per se, but
    also the movements of his body.
    He seemed to have lost his original focus on the voice
    as he kept experimenting with the movements of his
    body. But eventually he discovered that he now had
    an even better command of his body and voice than
    ever before. So he didn't just go back to the stage; he
    started teaching his method of movement to the
    public - it's known after his name, as the Alexander
    Feeling stuck as a starting point
    This story shows the difference between
    acknowledging your stuckness vs. falling into a spiral
    of despair.

    When you hit a really difficult spot, you probably start
    to feel overwhelmed. You convince yourself that
    there's nothing you can do about it or about anything
    else... You start to believe that you are doomed...
    This is not necessarily true. Alexander's first step was
    to take stock of reality - the way things were, he
    simply couldn't be an actor any more. He was
    powerless in that sense. But he didn't jump to the
    hasty conclusion that all was lost. He stayed in the
    simple reality of observing what was happening. He
    kept trying to move consciously, focusing his attention
    on the mechanics and feelings of making
    He used his energy to deal with the specific problems
    at hand instead of using it to generate predictions of
    hopelessness and doom.
    Alexander's story is hardly unique. Way back from
    antiquity, there are examples of people who have
    overcome major obstacles through conscious
    attention. For instance, Demosthenes, born a
    stutterer, became one of Greece's most famous
    step three > > 3 > > > > > > > > >

    I shift my focus, from being fixated on my
    problems, to seeking a sense of wholeness
    and contentment in my life.

    Original wording (AA):
    Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to
    the care of our Higher Power as we understood this
    Higher Power.

    discussion > > 3 > > > > > > > > >

    Step Three:
    A leap of faith
    The Third Step is a leap of faith - but not necessarily
    religious faith. What is it about?
    You decide to put your efforts into increasing your
    sense of wholeness and contentment in life.
    This is harder to do than it seems.
    It feels really scary to let go of the “solution” you
    think you have. It feels like, instead of dealing with
    the problem, you’re giving up.
    The more stuck you are, the more you feel that the
    only way out is to try harder doing what you’re
    already doing.
    What enables you to let go is the hope that it will work
    out. As you feel more whole and satisfied with your
    life, you will be in a better position to deal with what
    now seems impossible to change.
    As you progressively let go of your fixation on your
    problems and your usual ways of dealing with them,
    you’ll notice how you tend to tighten up -- how much
    you want to control things -- when you're faced with
    something new. Noticing this, you're in a better
    position to start to relax this tension.
    You start noticing how you tend to have knee-jerk
    reactions to certain situations - how it happens so fast
    that you weren't even conscious that there was any
    possibility of doing anything different. Noticing this,
    you become more aware that you have a choice of
    how to react in these situations.
    Little by little, you discover that your range of
    reactions is much broader than you were accustomed
    to. You broaden our sense of who you are. Compared
    to how you used to be, it feels like you have been
    touched with something greater than yourself.
    Indeed, you have expanded beyond the more limited
    part of you that you used to think was all of you.
    step four > > > 4 > > > > > > > >

    I honestly look at the effects of my actions
    on others and myself.

    Original wording (AA):
    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of

    discussion > > > 4 > > > > > > > >

    Step Four:
    When things aren't working well, the temptation is to
    hunker down, feel defensive, and try to prove why
    what you're doing should work. Of course, this won't
    magically make things work.
    Step 4 is about stepping away from the heat of battle,
    and taking a non-partisan look at your own actions.
    Does it mean that you were bad, and we now have to
    become good?
    No, you're certainly not trying to become an angel (or
    to convince yourself that you’re one). In fact, if you
    try to go that route, your life somehow becomes even
    more unmanageable.
    All you have to do is try to not be so defensive. That
    is, try to just face the reality of what you do without
    jumping to justify it in the same breath.

    The original 12 steps called Step 4 a "fearless" moral
    inventory. The fearlessness lies in that you accept to
    face reality, whatever it is.
    Beyond good and evil
    What makes this kind of honesty possible is removing
    the notion of judgment - that is, the potential for
    blame and shame. Step Four is about looking at facts
    - as opposed to adding overlays of judgment and
    blame onto them in such a way that the facts become
    There is a big difference between being in Criminal
    Court and doing Step 4:
    - In Criminal Court, the rule is for the indicted person
    to avoid responsibility.
    - In Step 4, your goal is to work toward taking
    responsibility for what you do.
    Why would you do that? It is a logical continuation of
    the leap of faith described earlier. Your hope is that,
    whatever you find out about yourself, it will be
    something that you can live with.
    This will lead you to eventually get to know your true
    self - - and that this might turn out to be a better
    person than you thought you were!
    step five > > > > 5 > > > > > > >

    I take responsibility for my actions.

    Original wording (AA):
    Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to
    another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    discussion > > > > 5 > > > > > > >
    Step Five:
    No excuses
    Step Five is not about saying: "I hurt these people,
    but that was because they had hurt me first".
    Blaming somebody else - no matter how richly they
    deserve it - is a way of not fully feeling these feelings
    of hurt and anger, of toning them down. Because,
    when you blame others, you are putting our attention
    on what others are doing. In effect, you are saying:
    "If it weren't for what you did, it wouldn't have
    This step is about admitting to yourself what may be
    difficult for you to admit.
    Admit it!
    If you think we're being coerced into "taking
    responsibility", the image that comes to mind is that
    of the stern interrogator - the cop who's badgering the
    suspect to confess ("Admit your wrongs!").

    In that context, you will tend to see things as a battle
    of wills against the tough cop. Your goal will then be
    to avoid admitting anything incriminating.
    Step Five is different.
    Taking responsibility for what you do is a way to
    realize that you are an active agent in the world. In
    other words, you are not powerless, even if you are
    not yet aware of the ways in which your power
    manifests, or if you don't like these ways.
    As you get more of a sense of your power, you will be
    able to redirect it to focus on getting more of what
    you really want out of life.
    step six > > > > > 6 > > > > > >

    I see that my knee-jerk reactions have to do
    with being in the grip of more or less
    conscious fears.

    Original wording (AA):
    Were entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove
    all these defects of character.

    discussion > > > > > 6 > > > > > >
    Step Six:
    Character defenses
    We all have character defenses, a whole range of
    them. Some are pretty innocuous, and some are more
    problematic. Our character defenses are what
    provides the material of comedy.
    For instance, take a greedy character. You could say
    greed is a major defect. On the other hand, being
    greedy can also be seen as a defense against the fear
    of starvation, of not having enough to live on.
    What's a character defense? Something we are
    accustomed to doing automatically, in order to
    consciously or unconsciously avoid dealing with
    something difficult.
    Talking about "defense" does not condone the
    questionable behavior. It just makes it more
    understandable why people hang on to these
    You don't use your character defenses because you
    want to be laughed at. Or because you revel in being
    evil. Somehow, at some level, you believe this
    behavior is a protection against something that you
    fear a lot.
    Becoming more aware of your fears
    If you pay attention, you’ll notice that you go into a
    defense behavior when you feel threatened. So, when
    you are in a very stressful situation, you’ll tend to fall
    back onto your defenses a lot more than usual.
    Step 6 is about getting ready to let go of your
    character defenses. Which means it's about realizing
    how much more important they are to you than you
    had thought. After all, if they weren't, it wouldn't be
    such a big thing to change!
    So you decide to explore your fears in order to
    eventually be less governed by your fears and your
    defensiveness… in order to be more willing to go with
    the flow instead of automatically resisting.

    step seven > > > > > > 7 > > > > >

    I strive to find my motivation in a deeper
    sense of who I really am, rather than fear
    and defensiveness.

    Original wording (AA):
    Humbly asked our Higher Power to remove our

    discussion > > > > > > 7 > > > > >
    Step Seven:
    The power of choice
    In Step 6, you noticed that your actions are often
    motivated by character defenses. So you are now
    paying attention to your impulses.
    Before you did that, it felt like you had no choice over
    what you did. Now, as you’re becoming more aware of
    what is behind your actions, you gain the possibility of
    making different choices.
    The wager you’ve been making is that, as you get
    more of a sense of wholeness and contentment in
    your life, the choices you make will be less influenced
    by your fears and the knee-jerk reactions they induce.
    A humbling realization
    It is humbling to realize that you have conflicting
    motivations, and that the most powerful ones are not
    necessarily the ones you'd be proudest of.
    Little by little, you learn that lasting transformation
    doesn't come through sheer force of will. Rather, it is
    a result of slowly observing your inner conflicts and
    fears, and progressively shifting from fear-based
    reactions to ones grounded in a deeper, safer sense of
    As you go through this process, you develop a sense
    of awe -- something that is akin to what religious
    people may describe as a prayer, in the sense that
    praying is about being open rather than about placing
    an order.
    A sense of awe
    This is a time when you realize how much you want
    something to happen, at the very time as you are fully
    aware that it is beyond your conscious control to have
    it happen when you want it, the way you want it.
    There is a lot of tension in that. You can resolve this
    tension by pretending you can control something, by
    having a temper tantrum... or by humbly accepting
    your lack of control over something that is very
    important to you.
    In a way, you're back at Step One - admitting your
    stuckness, your powerlessness, your lack of control
    over things you'd so much want to be able to control.

    You let yourself want what you want, even though it's
    not a sure thing, even though there's a big risk of
    disappointment. This is quite different from, either
    deluding yourself that you can control the outcome; or
    pretending to yourself that you don't really want the
    result, just because you can't bear to want something
    that you have no control over.
    When you make an effort to be conscious of the
    impulses behind your actions, and of the choices you
    have, you are engaged in a spiritual process. You are
    deeply aware of your human limitations, and at the
    same time you are connecting with a broader sense of
    self that helps you go beyond these limitations.

    step eight > > > > > > > 8 > > > >

    I stop blaming and feeling blamed, with a
    willingness to heal the wounds.

    Original wording (AA):
    Made a list of all the people we had harmed, and
    became willing to make amends to them all.

    discussion > > > > > > > 8 > > > >

    Step Eight:
    Pleasure in Revenge
    There is great satisfaction in getting revenge for what
    others did to you. If you can hurt them, in turn, at
    least you'll stop being a punching bag, you'll show
    It's understandable that there are people you'd love to
    hurt even more than you've done so far.
    Step 8 is about realizing how much revenge and
    blame are ingrained in all of us... and starting to walk
    away from these tendencies.
    A different focus
    Why is that? As long as you keep blaming others (or
    feeling susceptible to blame), you cast yourself in the
    role of a powerless victim. You say you have no power
    over your actions. You pretend you're such a
    powerless puppet that even the harmful things you do
    are other people’s responsibility!
    You’re following these Proactive Twelve Steps to
    regain power over the things you can have power
    over. You may not have much power over other
    people... but you certainly have power over the way
    you behave.
    If you acknowledge that there is some pleasure in
    your harming other people, that it is your way of
    feeling less powerless... then you're no longer stuck
    on the defensive. You now have a choice between
    continuing to do the same thing, or moving on.
    At some point, you may decide that, while there is
    some pleasure in revenge, it's not really what you
    want most out of life… that you'd rather focus on
    being happy.

    step nine > > > > > > > > 9 > > >

    I swallow my pride, and sincerely apologize
    to people I've hurt, except when it would be

    Original wording (AA):
    Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
    except when to do so would injure them or others.

    discussion > > > > > > > > 9 > > >
    Step Nine:
    Actual apologies
    There's a difference between Step Eight and Step
    Nine. It lies in the fact that Step Nine is about actually
    Instead of being essentially in a conversation with
    yourself, you are now facing another person. A person
    you have hurt, and who is probably not favorably
    disposed toward you.
    There is the possibility that this person just doesn't
    get it, is still very resentful, makes fun of your
    attempts... Just the thought of it makes it harder to
    It's tempting to think: "What really counts is that I
    resolved things inside. I figured out what I've done
    wrong, I've become ready and willing to make
    So why bother actually confronting another person,
    and submit myself to reactions that are beyond my
    The freedom of new beginnings
    A big change happens, inside you, after you genuinely
    apologize to somebody you’ve hurt.
    Before you apologize: You can't tell people you are
    sorry because you feel it would mean admitting you're
    wrong -- this threatens your position in an unbearable
    After you apologize: you now see that you can still
    exist and feel safe in a world in which you have taken
    the risk of feeling sorry for something you did.
    This is what this whole process is about.
    When is it appropriate?
    It may be quite difficult to figure out when it is
    appropriate to rock the boat, and when it is
    inappropriately hurtful to others.
    This is OK - welcome to the real world, where choices
    are not necessarily simple. This is very much the
    essence of the growing process exemplified by the
    Serenity Prayer. You want to acquire the wisdom to
    know the difference between when to accept things
    and when to fight for change. You acquire this wisdom
    through trial and error.
    It's useful to think of this Step as a guiding principle,
    as opposed to a recipe that you must follow blindly.
    There's no guarantee you'll be absolutely right,
    beyond reproach, if you follow this step. Instead, you
    have to figure out how it applies to your situation; this
    engages your conscious attention and helps you learn
    by trial and error.
    You may be making a mistake in making apologies to
    people you shouldn't. On the other hand, you may be
    erring by being too cautious... So, you experiment.
    Here's one way to look at it. If apologizing is a way to
    make you feel smug and superior (like playing a game
    of "I'm a better person than you"), then it's probably
    not appropriate. Conversely, it is appropriate when it
    is a way to build a bridge to the other person, to feel

    step ten > > > > > > > > > 10 > >

    I live mindfully, paying attention to the
    motives and effects of my actions.

    Original wording (AA):
    Continued to take personal inventory and when we
    were wrong promptly admitted it.

    discussion > > > > > > > > > 10 > >
    Step Ten:
    An inner moral compass
    Step Ten means staying conscious, aware of what you
    do in your life. Conscious, aware… as opposed to living
    in a cloud of denial. Taking responsibility for your
    Step Ten is the compass that has you ask: Did this
    move help me move toward where I want to go?
    Or, to put it into a more colorful way: How can you
    expect to soar with eagles if you keep behaving like a
    Ultimately, Step Ten is about keeping in mind who you
    are and what you want out of life. Admitting being
    wrong is not about staying in a childlike role - the bad
    little kid who gets punished for being wrong. It's about
    noticing where you went off course, and gently putting
    yourself back on the right track.
    This is a good time to revisit earlier steps, about being
    defensive, about shoulds...

    This is a process. You have to keep working at it,
    because your habits are solidly ingrained. Going
    through this process is not a one-time thing that you
    do, and then it’s over.
    This process is about learning a different way of
    dealing with life.
    As you life goes on, you’ll keep facing the reality of
    what you do and who you are, and how you want to
    deal with that.

    step eleven > > > > > > > > > > 11 >

    I stay tuned inside, in touch with a broader
    sense of who I really am, and a deeper sense
    of what I really want.

    Original wording (AA):
    Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our
    conscious contact with our Higher Power as we
    understood this Higher Power, praying only for
    knowledge of this Higher Power's will for us and the
    power to carry that out.

    discussion > > > > > > > > > > 11 >
    Step Eleven:
    In a nutshell
    This Step is about being able to continue "doing the
    right thing".
    It's about going beyond the tight boundaries of your
    habits and knee-jerk reactions. "The right thing" is not
    just that what takes you out of a tight spot. Doing the
    right thing gives you the sense that what you’re doing
    is in harmony with the order of all things.
    Suppose you're getting angry at somebody and laying
    a lot of blame on them at a time when you can get
    away with it. It may feel good at the moment - it lets
    you get off steam. But it certainly isn't something that
    makes you feel especially in harmony with your higher
    sense of self. Nor is it an action that you're especially
    proud of yourself for.
    This is not a watertight definition of "doing the right
    thing" - it has a lot of holes. There are ways to
    improve on it. On the other hand, there is some merit
    to this lack of precision: This Step is about intuitively
    feeling what's right, as opposed to analyzing it with
    your logical mind.
    What is implicit in this Step -- as in the whole
    Proactive Twelve Steps approach -- is that you are
    inherently good. All we have to do is let yourself
    connect with what is good within yourself -- whether
    you call it God, a Higher Power, or anything else.
    Within this context, meditation is a good way to be in
    conscious contact with your true Nature, your Life
    Force, your own inherent goodness.
    You can experiment with various forms of meditation -
    - some techniques may work better for you than
    The test of what works is that you start to feel how
    you get to trust your intuition more and more. You
    see yourself doing the right thing.
    What it's about is finding a sense of peace, a sense of
    space. It's the opposite: of feeling agitation, of
    rushing around. The opposite of feeling "I can't bear

    step twelve > > > > > > > > > > > 12

    As I feel better about myself, I reach out to
    others who feel stuck.

    Original wording (AA):
    Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these
    Steps, we tried to carry this message to other
    (alcoholics, codependents, people who feel stuck...);
    and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    discussion > > > > > > > > > > > 12
    Step Twelve:
    A different outlook on life
    In the original wording of the Step, the expression
    "spiritual awakening" conveys that something very
    powerful is happening. It implies that, for all intents
    and purposes, you are asleep until such a time as you
    have this awakening. When you're asleep, you may
    not notice what's happening around you. But you
    certainly notice the alarm clock that's waking you up.
    The world outside doesn't change. What changes is
    the way you experience it. From feeling powerless and
    victimized, you now feel more at peace with the world.
    This is a different perspective, a much broader one.
    There are still many things you'll feel powerless about.
    But you'll have less of a tendency to take the things
    you are powerless about as a personal insult. You'll
    tend to get less mired into what frustrates you. And
    you'll direct more of your energy in directions where
    you have some power to get what you want.
    In other words, you feel better about yourself.

    Staying on course
    Implicit in the idea of feeling better about yourself is
    the notion that this will motivate you to stay on
    Let’s say you start a program of physical exercise "to
    get fit". You won't stay fit unless you keep exercising.
    And chances are you'll keep exercising if you actually
    enjoy the exercising itself, as opposed to feeling it's
    something you have to do only as a means to an end.
    This process is not about acquiring anything, other
    than habits. It's about practicing these habits, one day
    at a time.
    Reaching out
    You reach out to others out of altruism... but there is
    a benefit to yourself as well. Sharing your experience
    is not about dealing with others from a one-up
    position ("I know all the answers, and I have to
    educate others who are less fortunate than I am"). It
    makes you feel more connected when you to associate
    with other people who experience similar problems.

    control a quest for serenity, courage & wisdom

    Control what you can…
    Stop trying to control what you can't.

    I seek
    the serenity to accept what I cannot change;
    the courage to change what I can;
    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    Original wording (Reinhold Niebuhr):
    God, grant me the serenity
    to accept the things
    I cannot change,
    Courage to change the
    things I can, and the
    wisdom to know the difference.
    discussion control, serenity, courage & wisdom

    Control is not a dirty word. The problem is when we
    keep trying to control what we have no business
    This quest is not just about Serenity, it's also about
    Courage and, most importantly, Wisdom.
    It is not just about learning to let go and learning
    courage. It is about knowing when to fight for change,
    and when to learn to live with what is.
    In other words, blind acceptance of everything is not a
    virtue any more than indiscriminate fighting is. There
    is a time and place for each.
    Wisdom is not something that is magically, suddenly
    imparted on us. It is a process.
    We acquire wisdom by making decisions. Some of
    them work out well; some don’t. We learn through
    trial and error.
    Part of the process is granting ourselves the
    permission to make the mistakes through which we
    may learn.
    discussion higher power & inner power

    The essence of the twelve steps approach is to take
    our focus away from a specific problem that seems
    unmanageable, and to bring it to another dimension.
    This powerful shift is like the "jump into hyperspace"
    in science-fiction movies.
    In traditional twelve steps wording, this "other
    dimension" is described as "letting God" (or a Higher
    Power) guide you.
    These proactive 12 steps are written without any
    reference to God or a Higher Power. In this case, the
    "other dimension" consists in connecting with a larger
    sense of who you are.
    This is not meant to alienate people who see God or
    Higher Power as a key part of the process, as will also
    be explained below.
    Why remove any mention of God / Higher Power from
    the Steps?

    One reason is that a secular approach is more likely to
    be understood by people who are not accustomed to
    turning to God or a Higher Power.
    If this were the only reason, it would be a very weak
    one. These proactive 12 steps would only be some
    kind of a "lite" version of the "real" steps, and they
    would only be relevant to those people who "can't
    stomach the real thing".
    What I have found in rewriting the steps is that
    eliminating the faith element (faith in God or a Higher
    Power) forced me to pay more attention to describing
    what actually happens in the process of personal
    growth (or, at least, my view of it).
    The process I describe is one of letting go of
    dysfunctional habits and ways of thinking, and
    progressively focusing on the more positive forces
    within ourselves.
    In the steps I describe, there is still a leap of faith. It
    is faith in the basic resiliency and strength of human
    nature. All you have to do is think of our basic
    goodness as a working hypothesis, and be willing to
    test this hypothesis. Try it, and see if it works for you.

    While this approach requires no religious belief, you
    are of course free to think of this "basic goodness" in
    divine or religious terms.
    If you are religious, I believe you will find these down-
    to-earth steps a very useful perspective, just the way
    as a down-to-earth description of the world need not
    negate, and will often enrich, a religious outlook.
    In fact, there can be a convergence of views.
    The process I describe is one in which you
    progressively experience a sense of feeling that you
    are more than your little ego. This experience is what
    gives you the strength to overcome the dysfunctional
    habits and be pulled toward fulfilling your life-
    affirming needs.
    This experience can be described as feeling one's
    Inner Power... but it could also be described as feeling
    one's Higher Power. All it takes is thinking of Higher
    Power as a state that we experience, as opposed to a
    being that is outside of ourselves.

    the author
    Serge Prengel helps people take a more proactive
    approach to life, work and relationships. He works
    with clients in his New York City office, or by phone.

    website All the contents of this ebook are on the web:
    The website also provides:
    - insights on personal growth,
    - other self coach tools,
    - FAQ about sessions with Serge Prengel

    feedback Give feedback on this ebook:
  3. Creator

    Creator The Creator Has a Master Plan

    Sep 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
  4. Lucky Penny

    Lucky Penny Mr. cut me some slack cause I don't wanna go back,

    Apr 24, 2005
    Likes Received:
    at your mom's house. be back later.
    :big grin: Good for you Ace! That's a really great step :h5:
  5. JohnJohnJohnson

    JohnJohnJohnson Effetely Sipping My Latte OT Supporter

    Sep 8, 2004
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    pretty awesome, a step in the right direction
  6. Creator

    Creator The Creator Has a Master Plan

    Sep 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Thanks guys :)

    Just got back from a great meeting and then went right to the gym.

    My issue is momentum. I'm really not worried about drinking. Ill have my ups and downs, im sure, but I think I've done the hard parts the last 6 years. But I want to keep up the gym and the meetings - at least one AA meeting a week after the first six months (2-5 a week in the first 6 months).

    I dunno... I like this. I like making myself better.
  7. Creator

    Creator The Creator Has a Master Plan

    Sep 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Oh and I spoke at the meeting today. First time !
  8. JohnJohnJohnson

    JohnJohnJohnson Effetely Sipping My Latte OT Supporter

    Sep 8, 2004
    Likes Received:
  9. Creator

    Creator The Creator Has a Master Plan

    Sep 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
    :) Thanks man
  10. Creator

    Creator The Creator Has a Master Plan

    Sep 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
    And thats totally fine. Just for me thats not the best solution
  11. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

    Jun 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    I didn't read all of what you posted but I've scanned it.

    Funny thing is, many people that get hung up on the word God refuse to see what follows.....AS WE UNDERSTAND HIM.

    Here's the cool thing about AA, you can believe whatever you want about God or your Higher Power and so can I and those can be radically different ideas and we can both get and stay sober in the program of AA.

    The author seems to have missed this concept or maybe I just didn't read enough of what he/she wrote. I dunno.

    He says things like:
    This is exactly what a lot of people in AA believe and there is no conflict with AA.

    He/she also says:
    AA is not religious. It clearly states in the preamble, that

    I've found that many people get so hung up on the word God because they automatically assume it means the christian God. They simply can't or won't entertain the notion that any other definition applies, no matter how much evidence in the AA literature there is about it NOT being a religious organization at all.

    I mean everything I'm reading from what you posted is exactly what I found in AA without having to rephrase anything. Things like:
    This is exactly what happened to me when I worked the steps with my sponsor.

    What's particularly disturbing to me about the post is that so much of what he describes, is exactly what I found in AA. Not by find some "non-God" definitions or whatever. I found it by working with my sponsor, going to meetings, praying and meditating and generally opening up my mind to the ideas that were presented in the rooms of AA.

    Now I also found other materials to help supplement that like spirituality books and such. They were and are great books and I recommend them all the time the the people I know.

    So to sum up....this person, while trying to redefine the recovery process actually defined my experience within the AA program....yet he seems to want to think his ideas are somehow radically different. They aren't.

    Anyways, for what it's worth, many people have tried to stay sober on their own and with many different methods. If your path keeps you out of AA and helps you live happy, joyous and free, then who am I (or anyone for that matter) to say it's wrong? I won't say that....I would just wish you well and hope that should your path become exceedingly difficult to maintain that you'll give AA another chance.

    The fellowship, love and acceptance that I found in AA are just a few of the things that have helped me on my journey.

    I often close with: Good luck and God Bless but since you don't like the word God I'll just say....Good luck and safe travels.
  12. TucsonTerror

    TucsonTerror OT Supporter

    Jan 29, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Tucson, AZ USA
    Coottie - I'd just have to say when I see "God" vs. "god" it has a very different meaning. "God" = Judeo Christian God for the most part while "god" could be Zeus, Universe, etc. It seems popular to just use HP (for Higher Power), which is nowhere near as emotionally charged for most people. That's where I think a lot of the hangups come in, at least for me and some of my friends. It may seem like mere semantics but some words are just incredibly charged regardless of the words that follow to modify or qualify them. For those reasons, I think this is a good rewrite and could be valuable for people that are just immediately put off by what does come across as an overtly religious message at first pass (this coming from someone just getting into recovery).
  13. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

    Jun 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    But we are, in fact, arguing semantics. Words are just words and we are the ones that imbue them with their meaning. You give those words the emotional charging that they have. You can choose to remove that emotional charging.

    This can be as simple as reminding yourself that when you hear the word god that they are referring to YOUR concept of god, not the christian god. Do this enough and you'll start to calm down about it. Working the steps also helps deal with that emotional charging.

    I had issues with the word when I showed up but that was because I was really pissed off at God. Not just pissed, I was raging against God because of what I'd experienced in my life. I didn't want to have anything to do with God.

    The way to deal with those issues was to address the root cause of the issue NOT change the wording of the program. This is why I speak up about these issues.....people always want to remove God from AA because they say it's overly christian or whatever when this often just masks the real issue....that they have unresolved anger towards God, for whatever reason.

    AA is about being honest and dealing with issues head on. It's about getting down to the root cause of issues and dealing with those root causes. Some of these issues involve christianity and the god of the bible....the underlying issues need to be addressed, we don't need to run around changing words so people feel more comfortable.

    I guarantee you, if this issue is causing you a lot of grief, wait till you start working the steps with your sponsor. You'll find many more.
  14. TucsonTerror

    TucsonTerror OT Supporter

    Jan 29, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Tucson, AZ USA
    And yet there are some who simply don't believe in God, not that they have unresolved issues/anger with God.

    As for the 2nd part, what about Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, etc. Do they have unresolved issues with the Christian God? See what I'm saying? My whole point in my previous post was really to just say it may be a good rewrite that helps bring people to recovery that may otherwise get turned off at the start by "too much God" and use it as an excuse to avoid help.

    I do agree, we can choose what extrinsic meaning or value we ascribe to words but some are just so ingrained it's very difficult to do - especially when already stressed.

    And I definitely know I have other issues to work through in therapy and recovery. The fear of facing them has been a big factor in keeping me from getting help sooner and being honest with myself and people that had reached out to try to help me in the past. Just getting back in touch with and being honest with one of those people and her still accepting and supporting me has been incredibly encouraging.
  15. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

    Jun 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Good point.
    Yes I completely understand your point. However my point is that Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and others may think that God that's mentioned in AA is the christian god....but it's not. People add this definition while overlooking the words "as we understand him".

    Well the program has helped millions of people over the years and hasn't changed much. The word God has been there all along.

    There's no reason to rewrite it because there are many, many stories from people that had problems with that word that later came around. I mean there's no way to please everyone....there simply isn't. Some will simply have to accept that the god of AA can be any Higher Power that the alcoholic chooses.

    Cool....good luck. I hope you find relief from the disease and keep us posted.

    Oh and my original reasons for posting was to point out that the original author seemed to have problems with AA and that the program didn't address his issues. I was trying to show that I had some of the same issues and AA absolutely addressed those without having to rewrite anything. It almost seems as if he didn't even bother learning the AA program and simply started rewriting it to be more appealing to him. That's something I have a real problem with.
  16. polishillusion

    polishillusion New Member

    Oct 3, 2007
    Likes Received:
    I like these redone 12 steps.... but it does not actually fix any of the issues - it IS playing with semantics, and not concepts.

    Do whatever floats your boat.
  17. GooeyGus

    GooeyGus I has Laz0rz.

    Jun 5, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Marysville, WA
    The meetings I go to try not to use the word 'god' as much as 'higher power'. I'm not religious at all, but I believe there are things in this world that are greater than myself. My friends and family are what I deem to be my 'higher power'. I try not to get stuck on the religion part of the 12-step program, because its still one of the only programs that has been proven to really work. Early in my recovery, I tried to say I didn't need NA and it was too religious for me so I didn't want to go. When I look back on it, I realize it was just my sick head trying to stop me from making decisions that would put me on a better path.

    To this day I'm really not into the religious parts of the meetings, but the program as a whole has helped me immensely.
  18. O'Fuck

    O'Fuck Guest

    I apologize in advance for all the rambling...

    See, I never refused to see what follows. In fact, 'as we understand him' is the part I concentrated on most as I tried to make sense of everything.

    Its clear to me that I have the option of selecting and even creating my own HP.

    But no matter what concept I 'understand'... I'm still going to meetings where 99% of the people there have chosen the Christian God. I don't know if its different elsewhere... but here, that is no exagerration. And while AA may not expressly command them to share their god with others, that is exactly what their Church wants them to do. So I guess I find it little surprise that I see that happening at meetings.

    And I know I'm running the risk here of continuing the same old tired debate... but...

    It is uncomfortable to go into a meeting thinking, 'okay... I've got my HP figured out... and I'm going to concentrate on that while everyone else talks about ONE very particular God with a capital G'...
    and then having to spend the entire meeting dealing with that cognitive dissonance.

    One after another after another will talk specifically about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit... and then at the end, maybe say something like "oh and I guess whatever HP you have may work as well... but I've found you must have Jesus in your life".

    I know that AA is structured around accepting any version of a personal HP. And thats great. But it simply doesn't feel that way in a meeting. I don't necessarily think they are out to convert people... but I can certainly see why people would feel that they are.

    I often feel like the choose-your-own-HP gets people in the door... and then its more like "yes you can pick anything you want as a HP... a dog bowl... a hairbrush.... BUT, this program will work much better for you if you go ahead and pick the correct God". Again... this is just the impression I get from MY local meetings... I'm not saying this is just the way AA is. But at the meetings I go to... it is very very very clear that they want to share THEIR God with the people that may have chosen something else.

    I get awful sick of hearing things like "oh don't worry about the HP thing... just pick anything... a table... a book you like...", as if the HP is not the essential part of the program they otherwise tell you it is.

    Thats great I can just pick anything in the world as my HP. But how in the hell can I turn anything over to it, let alone EVERYTHING to it? This is where I often feel that there's a bit of misleading going on. Sure, pick any HP. But when you realize that you can't turn yourself over to some random object... THEN you will see you need to come around to the big beared white guy upstairs.

    I don't think AA is some scam, and I can see why people go ahead and overlook the inconsistincies because it is one of the only programs with such a large success record. But I get annoyed when people brush aside very valid concerns.

    Morrowasted can type all the hsughs in the world... but it is still and will always be fucked up to close with the Lord's Prayer at meetings that are supposed to have such an emphasis on being open to any religion, any concept of god, or any lack of religion or god. I know a lot of people try and shove that little bit under the rug as if it has no significance. But I think its significance couldn't be much more huge. Yes, I can close my eyes and try and reflect on my HP while every other person is chanting a very specific prayer... but fuck, that is just very unpleasant to have to do.
  19. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

    Jun 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    No apology necessary and I read every word. I don't think you were rambling at all, you made some very valid points.

    This is interesting to me because you're going to some of the same meetings I've gone to. At the May Club, they used to be very open to other people's ideas about a HP and I made it a point to speak up when the meetings got overly religious.

    I had many, many, many people over the years come up to me afterwards and thank me for making the clarification that we can all choose our own concept of a HP. Unfortunately, it seems that not as many people are speaking up about this as there used to be.

    Actually I know what you mean. This is one reason why I started speaking up because I wanted "the other ideas" to get equal play/recognition or whatever. I was never on some campaign to convert anyone or to say BS to Jesus or any of that. I'd just very clearly explain what AA says about this stuff then share my own ideas.....which actually have some christian influences but I'm no where near a bible thumping christian.

    I also started speaking up as a way to clarify my ideas. Nothing will clarify your ideas as the light of tell them to others. Speak up when they ask if anyone has a burning desire. It's OK to express your frustration and feelings of fact, I found a LOT of people helped me deal with my issues with spirituality by simply speaking up about how I just couldn't accept the God of the bible 100% without question or whatever.

    You know, that's just them expressing their beliefs and it's ok to not share those beliefs.....and yes, christian superiority is one of the most infuriating things to me. I have literally felt myself going into a rage about this. I have to really watch my tongue.

    Yeah you know.....I can see that also. Unfortunately, your post is bringing back some really painful memories for me. I really struggled with the God of the bible when I got to AA and my current feelings did not come from a beautiful transition. It was really messy as I was thrashing about trying to figure out what I believed in.

    You know, I've never been one to tell people what HP they should pick. How the hell can I say what is and is not a good HP for someone else? I can't.

    However, I agree 100% with you. I simply cannot turn my will and my life over to some hairbrush, door knob, cat or anything else like that. That is quite simply stupid and silly to me. Now I'm not criticizing anyone's HP....hell if a hairbrush helps keep you sober, who the fuck am I to say it's not a good HP? Use whatever the fuck works for just wouldn't work for me.

    However, the God of the bible would NOT work for me either. Why? Well , it's a very long story and not one that I want to type out. Suffice it to say, I was raging at God. It was well beyond simple was a deep, white hot rage.

    So I had to find a HP that I thought might be able to help me. I had to find one that I could call on a 2am, when I'm thirsty and wanting a drink more than anything else in the world.....I had to have a HP that I could call on and that would help me. A hairbrush, that can't fucking help.

    I'm not talking about some figment of my imagination...I had to be able to count on the real thing. The energy that is mysterious and described in many of the worlds religions. I had to find something that I could believe in....regardless of whether or not anyone else agreed with my beliefs. THAT IMO is what the concept of a HP is all about.

    The big book of AA talks about using the group as your HP because as a group, they have been able to do something that we alone cannot. I can actually understand that concept and I agree with it. I just didn't want to call the group my HP because I knew there was more out there.

    What I find unfortunate is that many in AA have simply forgotten these types of ideas or think that AA really is just Jesus part 2. However, some of us are sicker than others. :mamoru:

    Yeah I can totally understand that. I apologize to anyone if my posts have had this effect. I wasn't trying to sweep anyones concerns aside.

    You know what's weird for me, having all that rage in me towards God, I really found the Lord's Prayer to be quite comforting to me when I was I enjoy it and looking back, I was grateful for it.

    What I think is really too bad is that anyone would feel somehow left out because we choose to pray at the end of the meetings. Hell when I was drinking I felt left out all the fucking time!!! AA is not about making people feel left out, it's about inclusion and matter how different our backgrounds. That's one of the things I LOVE about AA....that it's so inclusive and it's one of the things I HATE about organized religions, that they are quite exclusive.

    Anyways, hang in there man. If you're getting pissed, it probably means you're working on an area that still needs healing. That doesn't mean you have to blindly accept what others tell you....feel free to explore and find your own HP. I did and I'm so thankful for doing that because it's made all the difference in the world.
  20. anomaly

    anomaly If you weren't around for the original spli

    Oct 12, 2000
    Likes Received:
    The Town
    Please note, these are only my opinions, I don't go to church, nor do I have any belief in organized religion. I have been sober for some time.

    If a big G makes you run away then go drink some more. There will come a point when merely seeing a big G won't be as bad an option as continuing drinking. Alternatively that point might not come and drinking until you die remains a viable option. It very nearly did for me, but not because of the big G.
  21. TucsonTerror

    TucsonTerror OT Supporter

    Jan 29, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Tucson, AZ USA
    Why not just change "God" to "HP" then? In reality, after just 1 f2f meeting and 5 phone meetings, "G"od is way more important than "god as we understand him/her"

    My objection is not an excuse to say it won't work - just an observation that
    it's not as inclusive as some would like it to be. Hardcore Lesbians will object to "He" "His" "Him", etc. and the rest just flows from there. Tone down the Christianity w/ the Lord's paryer at the end of meetings and bring forth a whole new crop of people seeking help.
  22. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

    Jun 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Well as one of the old timers is famous for saying in meetings around here, "If God runs you out of here, that booze will run you right back in". When one is serious about getting and staying sober, they figure out ways to deal with the HP issue.
  23. i killed tupac

    i killed tupac New Member

    Mar 19, 2005
    Likes Received:
    this toilet earth
    I, myself, do not believe in ghosts, superstitions, supreme beings, gods, or anything of the like.

    However, i do believe in 12 step programs. I have many, many days in a row now where i didnt have to use if i didnt want to.

    Nothing says you have to have a "god". Sure, that word is used a lot, but more as a convenience- "god" is a concept that can be readily understood by many people to be "not you".

    I think people that develop the most in their lives determine what their "not self" is-and dont sweat what people might call it.
  24. TucsonTerror

    TucsonTerror OT Supporter

    Jan 29, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Tucson, AZ USA
    What is your "not-self" HP?
  25. i killed tupac

    i killed tupac New Member

    Mar 19, 2005
    Likes Received:
    this toilet earth
    i bet you could figure it out ;)

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