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Everyone can benefit from such a process. How interesting It has been designed for one specific addiction, and yet, provides deep wisdom and psychology that applies to everyone.
It was designed to overcome one of the most difficult, seemingly impossible addiction. That's why it digs so deep in the human psyche.
Simplistic approach like "You want to forget your past", or "to fill your life with something else" or "your feel empty inside" only scratches the surface and is largely insufficient.

I also find it fascinating that a person need to wait to reach the very bottom before to react and do what it takes.
Most people would start this process faithfully only in the face of death.

What fascinates me also is that people just won't do what would save them. For example, it sounds paradoxical to hold on pride if it's what makes you miserable.

Here is my (long) summary:

Foreword

if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.
Many see it as an effective living for many, alcoholic or not.

Step One

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

WHO cares to admit complete defeat? Practically no one, of course. Every natural instinct cries out against the idea of personal powerlessness.
It is truly awful to admit that, glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of providence can remove it from us.

But upon entering A.A. we soon take quite another view of this absolute humiliation.
Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.

We know that little good can come to any alcoholic who joins A.A. unless he has first accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences.

Why all this insistence that every A.A. must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom.
Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.'s message to the next sufferer?
No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't care for this prospect—unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.

Step Two

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

newcomers are confronted with a dilemma.
Having reduced us to a state of absolute helplessness, you now declare that none but a Higher Power can remove our obsession. Some of us won't believe in God, others can't, and still others who do believe that God exists have no faith whatever He will perform this miracle. Yes, you've got us over the barrel, all right—but where do we go from here?

Let's look first at the case of the one who says he won't believe—the belligerent one. He is in a state of mind which can be described only as savage. His whole philosophy of life, in which he so gloried, is threatened. It's bad enough, he thinks, to admit alcohol has him down for keeps. But now, still smarting from that admission, he is faced with something really impossible. How he does cherish the thought that man, risen so majestically from a single cell in the primordial ooze, is the spearhead of evolution and therefore the only god that his universe knows! Must he renounce all this to save himself?

And so it is: the beginning of the end of his old life, and the beginning of his emergence into a new one.

First, Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything.
Second, to get sober and to stay sober, you don't have to swallow all of Step Two right now.
Third, all you really need is a truly open mind. Just resign from the debating society and quit bothering yourself with such deep questions as whether it was the hen or the egg that came first.

As a scientist, your first reaction is: I simply won't consider such nonsense.
Then I woke up. I had to admit that A.A, showed results, prodigious results. I saw that my attitude regarding these had been anything but scientific. It wasn't A.A, that had the closed mind, it was me.
The minute I stopped arguing, I could begin to see and feel. Right there, Step Two gently and very gradually began to infiltrate my life. I can't say upon what occasion or upon what day I came to believe in a Power greater than myself, but I certainly have that belief now.

Here's a very large group of people who have solved their alcohol problem. In this respect they are certainly a power greater than you, who have not even come close to a solution. Surely you can have faith in them. Even this minimum of faith will be enough. You will find many members who have crossed the threshold just this way.
All of them will tell you that, once across, their faith broadened and deepened.

The ones who loose their faith:
we were winning at the game of life. This was exhilarating, and it made us happy. Why should we be bothered with theological abstractions and religious duties, or with the state of our souls here or hereafter? The here and now was good enough for us. The will to win would carry us through. But then alcohol began to have its way with us. Finally, when all our score cards read 'zero,' and we saw that one more strike would put us out of the game forever, we had to look for our lost faith.

the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman:
We used our education to blow ourselves up into prideful balloons, though we were careful to hide this from others. Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on our brainpower alone.
Scientific progress told us there was nothing man couldn't do.
We saw that we had to reconsider or die.
Others showed us that humility and intellect could be compatible, provided we placed humility first.
When we began to do that, we received the gift of faith.

Others said:
We were plumb disgusted with religion.
The Bible, we said, was full of nonsense.
'good men of religion' were still killing one another off in the name of God.

Then we saw the fruits of this belief: men and women spared from alcohol's final catastrophe. We saw them meet and transcend their other pains and trials. We saw them calmly accept impossible situations, seeking neither to run nor to recriminate. This was not only faith; it was faith that worked under all conditions. We soon concluded that whatever price in humility we must pay, we would pay.

True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith.


Step Three

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

PRACTICING Step Three is like the opening of a door which to all appearances is still closed and locked. All we need is a key, and the decision to swing the door open. There is only one key, and it is called willingness.
In the first two Steps we were engaged in reflection. We saw that we were powerless over alcohol, but we also perceived that faith of some kind, if only in A.A. itself, is possible to anyone. These conclusions did not require action; they required only acceptance.

Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God— or, if you like, a Higher Power—into our lives.
Faith, to be sure, is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives.

the effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and earnestly we have tried to come to “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

To every worldly and practical-minded beginner, this Step looks hard, even impossible. No matter how much one wishes to try, exactly how can he turn his own will and his own life over to the care of whatever God he thinks there is? Fortunately, we who have tried it, and with equal misgivings, can testify that anyone, anyone at all, can begin to do it.
We can further add that a beginning, even the smallest, is all that is needed. Once we have placed the key of willingness in the lock and have the door ever so slightly
open, we find that we can always open it some more.

If I keep on turning my life and my will over to the care of Something or Somebody else, what will become of me? I'll look like the hole in the doughnut.” This, of course, is the process by which instinct and logic always seek to bolster egotism, and so frustrate spiritual development.
Paradoxically, The more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are. Just like electricity:
Every modern house has electric wiring carrying power and light to its interior. We are delighted with this dependence; our main hope is that nothing will ever cut off the supply of current. By so accepting our dependence upon this marvel of science, we find ourselves more independent personally.

How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act. Oh yes, we'll weigh the pros and cons of every problem.
We are certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in.
but it still has to meet the acid test: how well does it actually work?

Should his own image in the mirror be too awful to contemplate (and it usually is).

So it is by circumstance rather than by any virtue that we have been driven to A.A., have admitted defeat, have acquired the rudiments of faith, and now want to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to a Higher Power.

All by himself, and in the light of his own circumstances, he needs to develop the quality of willingness. When he acquires willingness, he is the only one who can make the decision to exert himself.

It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us. To make this increasingly possible is the purpose of A.A.'s Twelve Steps, and Step Three opens the door.

simply say: “ God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.”


Step Four

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

CREATION gave us instincts for a purpose. Without them we wouldn't be complete human beings.
If we made no effort to harvest food or construct shelter, there would be no survival.
If we didn't reproduce, the earth wouldn't be populated.
If there were no social instinct, if men cared nothing for the society of one another, there would be no society. So these desires—for the sex relation, for material and emotional security, and for companionship —are perfectly necessary and right, and surely God-given.

Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper functions. Powerfully, blindly, many times subtly, they drive us, dominate us, and insist upon ruling our lives. Our desires for sex, for material and emotional security, and for an important place in society often tyrannize us.
Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct.

Step Four is our vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities in each of us have been, and are.
We want to find exactly how, when, and where our natural desires have warped us. We wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and ourselves. By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move toward their correction.

Suppose a person places sex desire ahead of everything else. In such a case, this imperious urge can destroy his chances for material and emotional security as well as his standing in the community.
Another may develop such an obsession for financial security that he wants to do nothing but hoard money.

How frequently we see a frightened human being determined to depend completely upon a stronger person for guidance and protection. This weak one, failing to meet life's responsibilities with his own resources, never grows up.
In time all his protectors either flee or die, and he is once more left alone and afraid.

But that is not all of the danger. Every time a person imposes his instincts unreasonably upon others, unhappiness follows.
If the pursuit of wealth tramples upon people who happen to be in the way, then anger, jealousy, and revenge are likely to be aroused. If sex runs riot, there is a similar uproar.

We have drunk to drown feelings of fear, frustration, and depression. We have drunk to escape the guilt of passions, and then have drunk again to make more passions possible.

We believe that our one-time good characters will be revived the moment we quit alcohol.
We also clutch at another wonderful excuse for avoiding an inventory. Our present anxieties and troubles, we cry, are caused by the behavior of other people—people who really need a moral inventory.
Therefore we think our indignation is justified and reasonable.

The sponsor telling about his own defects encourage hime to look at his own defects.
Some cannot see their own defects. The problem is to help them discover a chink in the walls their ego has built.
For most of us, self-justification was the maker of excuses;
We had to drink because our nation had won a war or lost a peace. And so it went, ad infinitum.
It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.

We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge for such defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it.

We could perceive them quickly in others, but only slowly in ourselves. First of all, we had to admit that we had many of these defects, even though such disclosures were painful and humiliating.
Then, For we had started to get perspective on ourselves, which is another way of saying that we were gaining in humility.

Human beings are never quite alike, so each of us, when making an inventory, will need to determine what his individual character defects are. Having found the shoes that fit, he ought to step into them and walk with new confidence that he is at last on the right track.

a universally recognized list of major human failings—the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.
It is not by accident that pride heads the procession. For Pride lead to self-justification.
It always spurrs by conscious or unconscious fears, the chief block to true progress.
Pride lures us into making demands upon ourselves or upon others which cannot be met without perverting or misusing our God-given instincts.
When the satisfaction of our instincts for sex, security, and society becomes the sole object of our lives, then pride steps in to justify our excesses.

Nwver satisfied to covet the possessions of others, to lust for sex and power, to become angry when our instinctive demands are threatened, to be envious when the ambitions of others seem to be realized while ours are not.
We eat, drink, and grab for more of everything than we need, fearing we shall never have enough.

Both his pride and his fear beat him back every time he tries to look within himself. Pride says, “You need not pass this way,” and Fear says, “You dare not look!”
Once we have a complete willingness to take inventory, and exert ourselves to do the job thoroughly, a wonderful light falls upon this foggy scene.
As we persist, a brand-new kind of confidence is born, and the sense of relief at finally facing ourselves is indescribable.

By now the newcomer has probably arrived at the following conclusions: that his character defects, representing instincts gone astray, have been the primary cause of his drinking and his failure at life; that unless he is now willing to work hard at the elimination of the worst of these defects, both sobriety and peace of mind will still elude him; that all the faulty foundation of his life will have to be torn out and built anew on bedrock.

Ex: When, and how, and in just what instances did my selfish pursuit of the sex relation damage other people and me? What people were hurt, and how badly? Did I spoil my marriage and injure my children? Did I burn with a guilt that nothing could extinguish? When denied, did I become vengeful or depressed?

The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression.
Ask how you can change for the better. Or why do I lack the ability to accept conditions I cannot change?

The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being. Our egomania digs two disastrous pitfalls. Either we insist upon dominating the people we know, or we depend upon them far too much.
If we lean too heavily on people, they will sooner or later fail us, for they are human, too, and cannot possibly meet our incessant demands. In this way our insecurity grows and festers.
When we habitually try to manipulate others to our own willful desires, they revolt, and resist us heavily. Then we develop hurt feelings, a sense of persecution, and a desire to retaliate.
As we redouble our efforts at control, and continue to fail, our suffering becomes acute and constant.

Always we tried to struggle to the top of the heap, or to hide underneath it. This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us.

we have buried these self same defects deep down in us under thick layers of self-justification. Whatever the defects, they have finally ambushed us into alcoholism and misery.

it is wise to write out our questions and answers. It will be an aid to clear thinking and honest appraisal.

Step Five

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

ALL OF A.A.'s Twelve Steps ask us to go contrary to our
natural desires… they all deflate our egos. When it comes to ego deflation, few Steps are harder to take than Five. But scarcely any Step is more necessary to longtime sobriety and peace of mind than this one.

if we have come to know how wrong thinking and action have hurt us and others, then the need to quit living by ourselves with those tormenting ghosts of yesterday gets more urgent than ever. We have to talk to somebody about them.

So intense, though, is our fear and reluctance to do this, that many A.A.'s at first try to bypass Step Five.
Or we say the minor things, and of the things which really bother and burn us, we say nothing.
Certain distressing or humiliating memories, we tell ourselves, ought not be shared with anyone. These will remain our secret. Not a soul must ever know. We hope they'll go to the grave with us.

This practice of admitting one's defects to another person is, of course, very ancient. It has been validated in every century, and it characterizes the lives of all spiritually centered and truly religious people.
Psychiatrists and psychologists point out the deep need every human being has for practical insight and knowledge of his own personality flaws and for a discussion of them with an understanding and trustworthy person.

What are we likely to receive from Step Five? For one thing, we shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation we've always had. Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness.
nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn't quite belong. Either we were shy, and dared not draw near others, or we were apt to be noisy good fellows craving attention and companionship, but never getting it.
It was as if we were actors on a stage, suddenly realizing that we did not know a single line of our parts. That's one reason we loved alcohol too well. It did let us act extemporaneously. But even Bacchus boomeranged on us; we were finally struck down and left in terrified loneliness.

When we reached A.A., and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting. We thought the isolation problem had been solved.
Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all-round forgiveness was desirable, but it was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we'd be able to receive forgiveness and give it, too.

Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our defects to another human being is humility—a word often misunderstood.
To those who have made progress in A.A., it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.
Therefore, our first practical move toward humility must consist of recognizing our deficiencies. No defect can be corrected unless we clearly see what it is.

Seeing our deffect is not enough. while this was a humiliating experience, it didn't necessarily mean that we had yet acquired much actual humility. Though now recognized, our defects were still there. Something had to be done about them. And we soon found that we could not wish or will them away by ourselves.

If all our lives we had more or less fooled ourselves, how could we now be so sure that we weren't still self-deceived? How could we be certain that we had made a true catalog of our defects and had really admitted them, even to ourselves?
Too much guilt and remorse might cause us to dramatize and exaggerate our shortcomings. Or anger and hurt pride might be the smoke screen under which we were hiding some of our defects while we blamed others for them.

We'd have to have outside help if we were surely to know and admit the truth about ourselves—the help of God and another human being. Only by discussing ourselves, holding back nothing, only by being willing to take advice and accept direction could we set foot on the road to straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility.

If the Creator gave us our lives in the first place, then He must know in every detail where we have since gone wrong. Why don't we make our admissions to Him directly? Why do we need to bring anyone else into this?”
Somehow, being alone with God doesn't seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person.
Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical. When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God.

what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation.
For some of us, a complete stranger may prove the best bet.

it frequently takes great resolution to approach him or her. No one ought to say the A.A. program requires no willpower; here is one place you may require all you've got.
When your mission is carefully explained, and it is seen by the recipient of your confidence how helpful he can really be, the conversation will start easily and will soon become eager. Before long, your listener may well tell a story or two about himself which will place you even more at ease.
Provided you hold back nothing, your sense of relief will mount from minute to minute. The dammed-up emotions of years break out of their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they are exposed.
As the pain subsides, a healing tranquility takes its place. And when humility and serenity are so combined, something else of great moment is apt to occur.

Step Six

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

THIS is the Step that separates the men from the boys.