The following is a revision of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the introduction to them in AA’s “Big Book.” We think the path of recovery from addiction that AA initially learned from the Church has much to give back to the western Church today which seems to be more distracted, and perhaps more addicted (to food, apps, internet, entertainment, sex, etc.) than ever. We offer this as an admission of our own weakness as well as an encouragement that there is hope. There is a “Way.”
Never have we seen a person fail who continues to trust Jesus. The only way to fail is to refuse to begin again. Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to follow Jesus, who is sometimes called “the Way.”
At some points along the Way we balked, and occasionally still do. It is always tempting to think we can find an easier, softer way than the One God provides, but it cannot be done. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and ways and the eventual result was nil until we let go absolutely, again or for the first time.
Remember that we are confronted with all the forces of evil, both within us and outside of us — cunning, baffling, powerful foes! Without help they are too much for us. But there is One who has all authority and power in heaven and on earth — that One is Jesus. May you find Him now!
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we take regularly, which are offered as a program of becoming fully human and alive, as God intended all along, through Jesus:
- We admit we are limited and mortal; that we need help.
- Come to believe that Jesus is the cornerstone of God’s plan of bringing fruitful and lasting life—starting right now—to anyone who will come.
- Make a decision to trust everything to the loving direction and power of Jesus, God’s Christ.
- Make a searching and fearless inventory of the ways we are selfish or harmful to others or ourselves, as well as the ways we’ve seen God do better, or offer to do better, through us.
- Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the full content of our inventory.
- Become entirely ready to act in the opposite spirit of our wrongs, and be transformed in Christ’s likeness.
- Humbly seek to empty ourselves of our selfish agendas as Christ did, and ask God to fill us with his Spirit.
- Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.
- Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continue to take personal inventory and, when we are wrong, promptly admit it.
- Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the Father through his Son and Spirit, praying as Jesus teaches us to pray, and as the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
- Having found real life and love and hope in Jesus, we try to give grace to all, ready to give an answer for our hope, and try to practice his ways in all our affairs.
Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are disciples—people who are still in process of becoming like our Teacher. The point is that we are willing to give up our lives on our terms to receive Jesus’ life on his terms. The steps we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress through Christ rather than spiritual perfection.