The Seventeen Spiritual Principles of the Twelve Steps

The purpose of this article is not to repeat what you are learning in AA/NA specific to the Steps, what your Sponsor is telling you, or any information given to you by your treatment provider about the 12 Steps of AA/NA. Nor is it to imply that 12 Step based recovery is the only option for recovery supportive meetings.

It is to expose you to the Seventeen Spiritual Principles associated with each of the 12 Steps.

The principles are the underlying motive or intent necessary to take a Step. While you have to use a Spiritual Principle when you take the Step, you may incorporate the principles into your life before you are able to take a Step or use them even if you attend other recovery supportive meetings.

All of the principles are a balancing attitude or intention for correcting some of your self-defeating behaviors. Integrating them as soon as you are able will improve your life even if you are not ready to take a certain Step.

Step 1 Principle: Self-honesty: Free from deception, dishonesty, or deceit.

Many of you practice “honesty.” You give back the change when a sales clerk gives you too much at the store and feel proud of this action. However, you will continue to lie to yourself about the seriousness of your drinking/using or the dangerous behavior that you practice.

The principle is self-honesty-being honest about you to you. This includes looking at the character defects, the shortcomings, and the self-defeating behaviors that are also part of your addiction. Making this type of assessment of yourself and being honest with your findings is the first step in making changes in your life. In order to change something, you first have to be able to identify it.

When you are operating from honesty, you tell the truth. If telling the truth is still too difficult, start out with being factual. Neither embellishing the facts nor minimizing the facts is a good place to start.

You cannot practice self-honesty and denial at the same time.

Step 1 Principle:Acceptance: To receive into the mind, understanding, agreeing with the findings, to surrender.

Acceptance is an attitude of non-judgment-neither liking nor disliking. For example, look at any cup. You can decide that it is an ugly cup and you will probably reject it. Alternatively, you can decide that it is a beautiful cup and you may be reluctant to use it. The reality is that it is a cup. That is acceptance-it is just a cup, neither pretty nor ugly, but merely a cup.

The same goes for your addiction and your actions. If you continue to judge them as “bad,” you will be reluctant to own up to them or admit them and you will continue with the inner conflict. If you accept your addiction and your behaviors, you can then begin the recovery process in earnest.

You do not judge the character defects and negative aspects; you merely assess whether they are healthy or unhealthy, likely to create positive or negative outcomes for you, what have they gotten you in the past when you operated from them, and do you want to continue using them or find alternative actions, behaviors and attitudes.

When you find aspects of yourself that are healthy, you incorporate them into your actions, behaviors, and attitudes.

Step 2 Principle: Hope: An instinctive belief in the possibility of change, an anticipation of situations improving through change.

Hope is the reason that you do almost everything. When you were hungry as a child, you hoped that by eating you would not experience the hunger. With time, you knew that when you ate, you would not feel hunger and had faith that this action would produce different results.

As a child, you may not have understood that when you were tired, that sleep was what relieved your fatigue. Yet as an adult, you know that when you are tired and you rest, you feel better. There is hope in both of these functions.

After a period of doing some things, you are no longer conscious of the hope or anticipation involved, only conscious of your history with those actions and the experience.

For anyone new in recovery, you are hoping that if you do what successful people in recovery do, you will get the same outcomes and benefits. You can move from hope to faith through your efforts at different behaviors, different thought patterns, and learning to explore new solutions and alternatives.

Step 3 Principle: Faith: Taken from the Greek word, pistis or from the verb, pisteuo, to trust in outcomes without evidence yet; to have confidence that the outcomes will be beneficial

Trust was usually in short supply in your use. Because most people in the drug world were untrustworthy, you probably become jaded, paranoid, and distrustful of people in general and had no faith in your fellow-man.

Yet, if your regular drug dealer was not available, and you wanted drugs, you would extend trust to a new dealer rather quickly to get what you wanted. You would pay for what they were offering and be on your merry way, rarely questioning what they were offering.

When you are new in recovery, it is difficult to believe in or trust that the people you are in treatment with, people in 12 Step or other recovery supportive meetings, and people in the judicial system are trustworthy. You tend to wonder about their underlying motives for being helpful, or why they act like they care, or what do they really want from you.

If you can move your suspicions aside and take people at face value, in much the same way that you did the new drug dealer, you may find that the majority of people do not have some hidden agenda or ulterior motive. They are genuinely interested in being helpful to you as it reinforces their belief in being helpful. They are authentic in sharing their experiences in recovery, giving their suggestions and solutions with the goal of seeing you change your life for the better.

There are people who will erect the “trust” shield, waiting until they have confidence in someone to follow their advice or directions. You will waste more time and all people in their addiction have wasted enough time.

If you find yourself not trusting a person, then trust a process. The process of recovery has been around since 1939, long before most of us were born. The process was valid then and it is valid now. Have faith in that.

Step 4 Principle: Courage: Attitude or response of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful instead of withdrawing from it.

Courage is risk taking for your betterment. You did incredibly risky, dangerous, unsafe things in your use. Recovery involves taking risks – trusting others, sharing your feelings, writing about your painful pasts, and making significant life change. All of these new actions take courage. Nevertheless, you have it within you, you now just need to decide to use it to better your life rather than destroy it.

In your use, you put on a brave face; numbed the fear and did what you needed to do. You made pick-ups in dangerous neighborhoods; ran the risk of having a tail light out and being stopped by the authorities while carrying; and dealt with people who would harm you without batting an eye.

Early in recovery, that brave face and doing what you need to do will serve you well, also. After facing the fears and doing the next right thing, the outcomes will encourage you to do the next risky thing when your sponsor/accountability partner, peers, facilitator, or your counselor challenges you to trust the process one more time.

Step 5 Principle: Integrity: The quality or state of being whole or complete, entireness, undivided and honest

When you are operating from integrity, you are being trustworthy, dependable, and consistent. Your show your integrity to people by keeping promises, showing up when you said you would; being available to people who are having a hard time, being true to a new set of beliefs that revolve around recovery goals and actions.

Step 6 Principle: Willingness: Having the mind favorably disposed to do something specific or implied.

Willingness is an attitude. You show this by complying with rules, guidelines, and directions. It shows when you risk doing new things, even things that you are unsure of, like talking about your problems and feelings to strangers in a meeting or following the directions of a peer, facilitator, or counselor.

Willingness means that you have an interest in exploring solutions that will promote your recovery.

Step 7 Principle: Humility: Absence of pride, arrogance, or vanity

When you are genuinely humble, you realize that although you may be good at some things, you are not good at others. It is a perspective on you that allows for accomplishments as well as the lack of them. It is the opposite of arrogant, thinking that you are the best, know it all, or are above others.

Being humble allows you to listen and in listening you learn. Being humble allows you to ask when you cannot do something and giving help when you can.

Step 8 Principle: Justice: Quality of righteousness, honest and fair, doing something in a manner worthy of one’s abilities

Justice from a fairness perspective allows you to decide your responsibilities in your life choices and take responsibility for those choices. You are fair in placing the responsibility of your life exactly where it belongs, squarely on your shoulders.

Step 8 Principle: Brotherly Love: Unconditional love for our fellow-man regardless of prior feelings or relationships

Brotherly love is about forgiving those that have harmed you knowing that you have harmed others and yourself. You understand that your addiction has driven you to be a harmful person even when your intent was to do otherwise.

You demonstrate these same allowances to others. This does not mean that you have to keep someone in your life if he or she would cause you further harm, but that you forgive him or her and can move forward in your recovery. You weigh the alternatives of having them in your life or not; whichever is beneficial to you and to them.

Step 9 Principle: Good Judgment: The act or process of the mind in comparing the ideas to find agreement or disagreement and decide truth

You would not harm yourself by the amends process; neither do you harm others to reconcile your past. You use good judgment and some prudence or caution in determining whom you will make direct amends to-only where it is appropriate and safe.

In your recovery, you are learning to think differently, not the self-centered thinking of addiction, but a more rational, logical, analytical approach to life’s problems. You can depend on your mental decisions to be sounder in your recovery. When you are uncertain of a decision, you have trustworthy people to ask about your decisions or you have the ability to wait for further clarification through meditation.

Good judgment returns in your recovery, because either you are making better decisions, or you are using your good judgment to seek advice from others.

Over time, you will begin relying on your decision-making because your objectives or goals will have changed as well.

Step 9 Principle: Self-discipline: Planned control and training of one’s self for the sake of development

In your addiction, you had very little self-discipline. You wanted something, you got it; you had a feeling, you numbed it; you did not like something, you destroyed it. It was a very on/off existence.

Patience, planning, asking other’s opinions – these are all aspects of self-discipline. It is waiting for better outcomes in your life instead of trying to force life simply because you want something now.

Generally when you operate from self-discipline, you are exercising restraint, dignity, and poise, and those are better qualities than you exhibited to others in your use.

Step 10 Principle: Perseverance: To pursue any action in a steady, consistent manner once begun

In your use, consistency was almost non-existent. No one could rely on you; your addiction governed the majority of your actions and your needs came first. No one could count on you to finish things, to be reliable, or create stability in your family’s lives.

Perseverance means that you stick to things, finish the tasks, are accountable and reliable. People learn to trust you again because you keep your word.

Step 10 Principle: Open-mindedness: Free from prejudice; not closed to new ideas

Your open-mindedness comes from seeing other perspectives. Your willingness to free yourself from the bondage of self allows you to exercise patience and tolerance for others and yourself and to listen to the ideas of others.

In your use, you probably rejected the ideas of others believing that your way was the only way. In recovery, you acknowledge that there are more ways than just your way, and that often times, someone else might have a better idea of how to do something. Becoming humble and accepting your limited perspective allows you to gain insight on a problem that you did not have; directions for a solution that you did not have, and descriptions of actions to correct a problem that you did not have.

Step 11 Principle: Awareness: Knowing, thinking, aware, conscious, realizing, and informed

Awareness breaks through denial. You cannot be aware of your life and still be in denial of your life. Realizing aspects of yourself that you need to change is exciting when you acknowledge that you are being given yet another opportunity to make things right, both for yourself and your loved ones.

There is an additional awareness that comes in recovery; that occasional hunch or inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the being. When you ask for help, you may feel confident that this help is available.

Your praying is the asking and the meditation is the receiving of guidance. You can bring your problems to the quiet center and expect guidance and answers and that can become comforting.

Step 12 Principle: Love: Work done or tasks performed with willingness, from fondness or regards for the person or the work or cause

Love is a much-misused word in the English language as we only have the one word. We state that we love someone, love ice cream, love the stars, or love things. In many other languages, there are different words for distinctive types of love.

Agape is love that is kindly and lenient towards others. You must surely love the work to carry it on just as you must surely love the alcoholics and addicts that you are trying to help. You do not expect personal credit when you share-you share out of the love of helping, not love of your words.

Step 12 Principle: Service: Help – beneficial or friendly action or conduct, giving or assisting to another.

Again, this work becomes what you live and what you can pass on to another. You do not moralize, criticize, or judge when you share the work. You offer suggestions, solutions, and answers that have worked for you. People will hear or see the truth when you speak from the heart.

Your service needs to extend to those who are willing to make the effort to recover. Spending too much time with an unwilling person may deny another the opportunity to recover. When you have shared your experience, strength, and hope with another and have demonstrated how to merge these principles in your life, the only appropriate course of action is to let them grow spiritually or continue their self-destructive behaviors.

You have done your part and been helpful and beneficial in your sharing of what has worked for you. It is then up to the person to use it or not.

Deixe um comentário