This twelve-step process of transformation is a path that leads
to an effective relationship with an accessible, personal God. All
individuals are entitled to have their own experience as they journey this
path, led by the Spirit.
It has been my experience that when, in an atmosphere of prayer, a thought-provoking
question is asked and a thought-filled bit of information is presented,
the result is new knowledge-not just at the intellectual level, but at
the intuitive level. We become just a little bit more awake, a little bit
more conscious. Our perceptions are shifted; our being is changed, ever
so slightly, ever so subtly.
Transformation is our life's goal. But we cannot make it happen. We
can only be open to the process, and make ourselves ready to receive this
gift. We can be taken to a place of willingness (grace), but we must be
willing to be taken (our cooperation).
This guide is not a commentary on the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book,
which contains all directions necessary to recover from "a seemingly
hopeless state of mind and body" for those of us who are interested and
willing to do the suggested work.
This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the Big Book of
Alcoholics Anonymous and A.A.'s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
in working the Twelve Steps. It presents clarifying instructions for approaching
and studying both books. But is not a do-it-yourself process.
For me, the directions in the Big Book were not self-evident.. I could
not find these instructions or follow them without specific guidance from
one who had preceded me on the path. The formula has been and always will
be "simple and personal ... one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic,
sharing experience, strength, and hope" I needed a step guide-a person
who himself had been led through the step process, who could share with
me his instructions and experience.
My step guide gave me homework assignments, reducing the process into
manageable projects, one for each step. I needed a lot of help over a prolonged
time to understand both the depth of my disease and my responsibilities
in recovery. This person was not only my guide, but my sounding board for
questions and my mentor/confidant for each discussion.
Having a guide was like wearing a coal miner's helmet with a light
on it-my guide was able to switch on the light so that when I read the
Big Book I could see the instructions and when I followed them precisely,
I was led to the Truth.
As a result of my experiences, I wrote this guide to lay out the aggregate
of instructions I received in the hopes that it might help others to see
the "... clear-cut directions ... showing how we recovered". The specific
instructions I received and followed for each step included Prayer,
Reading, Consideration/Reflection, Writing, Discussion.
I had no idea this would change my life from the inside out. It brought
me into an ongoing transformation that provides the emotional stability
and spiritual development I had been pursuing through religion, therapy,
and a variety of self-help programs for many years before embarking on
the Twelve-Step Process!
Underneath each of the steps is personal powerlessness-we are powerless
to see the Truth; we are powerless to take the actions. Therefore, for
each step, prayers were constructed for my own use, based on the principles,
words, and suggested prayers from various sections in the Big Book. The
specific PRAYER for each step will be found toward the end of the instruction
for each step, just before the reflection questions.
We all come to this place with our accumulated knowledge and experience
(drinking, newly sober, or with long-time sobriety). Our knowledge and
experiences have made us who we are today and have given us the lives we
have today. To have something different (if we don't want what we have)
or to have something better (if what we have is good but we want more-quality
and/or quantity), we need new knowledge and experiences.
We have intellect and will, which lead to knowledge and action. The
proper use of the intellect is to seek knowledge of God's will. Ask yourself:
what is my vision of God's will for me? When we use our will properly,
we align our will with God's will. Therefore, our prayer is "Thy will be
When we are in harmony with Creative Intelligence, the Spirit of the
Universe which underlies all, our Higher Power is revealed to us and through
us to others. We are possessed with a new sense of power and direction.