I often hear people tell me that they can’t go to fellowship meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous etc.) because they are not religious. Now don’t get me wrong, I recognise that the 12 steps are not for everyone, however I don’t for one second believe this is because they are “too religious”. I wanted to take this opportunity to attempt to interpret the 12 steps in a more accessible way for everyone. Here are the simplified twelve steps:
1) We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
The addiction has beaten me. My life is a mess.
2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
There is help/support out there.
3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.
I let a Higher Power/support system take over and help me.
4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I need to take a closer look at my life – bits that work, bits that don’t.
5) Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
I admit to my Higher Power/support system the things I did wrong.
6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
I am ready to be free/make changes.
7) Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.
I ask a Higher Power/support system to help me be free and make changes.
8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
I ask: who did I hurt? How do I fix it?
9) Made direct amends to people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
I try to fix things if I can and genuinely apologise.
10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
I continue to look at myself honestly, making changes as required.
11) 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.
I ask a Higher Power/support system for help to live the right way.
12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I live by these steps and get better. I try to help other addicts.
If these simplified twelve steps help even one person to reconsider attending a group meeting, then I will be happy that I have fulfilled my step 12 for today!