Over the last nearly 80 years, there has been a collective beachhead of sanity and practical mindful calm established by individual people within the ferocious storms of their disease of addiction, a disease that has now become such a global pandemic.
Offered is a simple rendition of the principles of recovery that the 12 Step Programme contains as an introduction for you as individuals or collectives, to further investigate and adapt for yourselves. The rendition is from a book that I wrote in 1997.
For any particular personal problem, I would strongly advise that whatever problem appears appropriate to you can be inserted into Step One, then an Internet Search should be done on that word plus ‘addiction’ to find information on the specific 12 Step Fellowship that can help and support you.
- We admitted we were powerless over ***********—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.
- 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 appropriately, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (Modified – Originally from AA)
1. SPIRITUAL – MENTAL – PHYSICAL … THE PROBLEM
2. HOPE – STRENGTH – EXPERIENCE … THE PROGRAMME
3. UNITY – SERVICE – CHANGE … THE COMMUNITY
4. PHYSICAL – MENTAL – SPIRITUAL … THE SOLUTION
The words allow an exploration of the symbol in Fig 1 and to see the three dimensional structure of the pyramid as one comprised of four triangles upon a square base. The above key words can each be placed around the points of four triangles and as these triangles come together in our erected structure the relationship between these words and the 12 Steps of the Programme can be explained: the inner map for personal change and continued development can be charted and internalised.
Mental Physical Strength Experience
Fig. 2 Fig. 3
Service. CHANGE Mental Spiritual
Fig. 4 Fig. 5
As these triangles come together upon the square base to form a pyramid, the key words also quite naturally come together to form their therapeutic identifications for the Steps themselves and their inter-relationships. If one takes a bird’s-eye view of the pyramid the following relationships transpire, with four words meeting at the apex and two words meeting at the four corners of the pyramid’s base.
5. Strength 4. Experience
6. Mental 9. Service
………………………….>> 11. Spiritual
1. Physical 7. Mental
2. Spiritual 8. CHANGE
So, in this simple structure there can be seen the mandala that Jung talked about. The whole contained in a sphere, the straight lines of the base and sides all cohering to aid and protect the inner work and transmutation of awareness.
The first two Steps are vital as foundations for the work to come, but we can see here how the progress can be mapped. From the first two Steps, the adherent is taken up to Step three even though our structure is not built as yet, then down to Step four and then across to Step five. Steps six and seven are only completed by going inside the square and diagonally transverse the inner foundations to reach Step seven. Then Steps eight and nine are completed and the final erection of the pyramid is possible with assimilation of the meaning of Steps ten, eleven and twelve.
It may be seen that all the main work is done around the base of the pyramid with the vital bridging Steps being of an internal nature and then up to the apex for the maintenance Steps after a CHANGE has been achieved in Step eight. If this seems a little arcane to you upon first reading, then this is quite normal, the importance of this ancient symbol will become clearer and clearer to you as you make progress.
By referring to the Steps themselves, they can be listed according to the manner in which the principle descriptive words meet around the pyramid structure.
Step 1. PHYSICAL. This Step is a physical Step. The only place that a person can start is in their physical body with an awareness of life up to this point when ‘the journey of a thousand miles’ is to start with the first step – or in this case the first of twelve Steps.
Step 2. SPIRITUAL. Wherever the word spiritual is employed in this work, it is the term to denote ‘power’. The power of Faith which can move mountains, the power of Love which can melt the hardest of hearts and the power of Hope which encourages the effort to achieve the transformation and then to sustain the change on a daily basis and beyond.
Step 3. PHYSICAL. Paradoxically, this Step is physical because the decision taking process is grounded in our experiential realm and the process of deciding is constant whether a person is deciding to buy a new washing machine or deciding to trust their future existence to a life based on spiritual principles.
Step 4. EXPERIENCE. This Step renders our past experience into a useful and living entity by stripping away elements that are ‘past their sell buy date’ and cherishing and collating inner goods which can be rearranged to provide a realistic view of just what there is that is worth setting our future store by.
Step 5. STRENGTH. To share matters that arise in our simple analysis of our basic sex, social and security instincts can require strength and courage.
Step 6. MENTAL. To be willing to change is a decision that is reaffirmed after the preparatory work is completed.
Step 7. MENTAL. This is the ‘marriage’ step when the Faith healing brings the inner animosity to an end. God responds to the inner leadership of an individual’s desire and the inner opposites are again repaired to a healthy psychic creativity which is both practical and mysterious.
Step 8. CHANGE. This is the point at which the real beginning is made and the way is opened for the nurturing of inner change to become a realised way of life with practise and being led by intuition and logic working in a harmony of inspiration.
Step 9. SERVICE. This Step starts to polish the principle of ‘due proportion’ as the primary focus of our personal and public application of our new insights.
Step 10. HOPE. The living Steps are now attainable at the apex of our inner pyramid with the appreciation of the very real hope of sustaining personal and interactive change on a daily basis.
Step 11. SPIRITUAL. This is the Step which guarantees the power to energise the whole work once it has been completed. It is linked to Step two and it is to Step eleven that Step two looked in the depth of its affirmation to try to progress through uncertainty. It is the Step of real achievement and the realisation of a return to purpose, dignity and inner intimacy with the ennobling grandeur of a personal relationship with the Higher Power experienced as a growing personal and practical concord.
Step 12. UNITY. In this Step there is the beginning of cohesion and an awareness of the sheer Unity of Existence and the practise of flying in the teeth of turbulence to share a personal witness wherever appropriate.
————— (Thorns mentioned by Ibn Arabi
& Sleeping Beauty)