Saturday, October 27, 2007

On the Twelve-Steps for Dummies: By Peter S. Lopez ~aka: Peta
Update: October 27, 2007

The birthplace of Alcoholic Anonymous (A.A.) was in Akron, Ohio in 1935 and the basic principles of its 12-Steps Program were originally based upon ideals from the Holy Bible and a genuine Christian spiritual conversion. A.A. is now accepted by millions of people worldwide as the main treatment model for people seeking recovery from chemical dependency and other disorders by working its’ basic 12-Steps program. Early A.A. members met together as a true Christian fellowship and there was a 75%-to-93% success rate among those who followed the original path. Nowadays, we need to learn from, remember and understand the true traditional Christian roots of early A.A.

“Conversions: The idea that a genuine conversion could bring about healings of alcoholics came primarily from the books and remarks of Professor William James, Dr. Carl G. Jung, Dr. William D. Silkworth, the Salvation Army, the Gospel Rescue Missions, and Bill Wilson’s own conversion at the altar of Rev. Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Rescue Mission, followed by Bill’s calling on the Great Physician at Towns Hospital and having a conversion experience very similar to that of his own grandfather Willie Wilson who was saved and delivered from alcoholism many years earlier.” [See Dick B. The Conversion of Bill W.]

CASA, ‘house’ in Spanish, stands for Christians Against Substance Addiction. Our CASA 12-Steps Program is solidly based upon the basis principles of the 12-Steps Program and related Scriptures from the Holy Bible. It is a dynamic, creative and flexible Christian recovery program and supports all positive 12-Steps groups, such as NA, CA and DRA. We have weekly CASA Meetings at the local Salvation Army ‘Center of Hope’ homeless shelter, hold open group discussions and strive to consciously practice what we preach. We should not endorse any one religious denomination and should respect all the great world religions as we know that there are many pathways to the Great Creator God and different roads to recovery. We have a Christian approach to recovery motivated by love, not greed.

For some, recovery has become a huge multi-billion dollar industry that is profit-motivated, not love-motivated. Some agencies have a capitalist ‘profit motive’ in running recovery programs. They are in it for the money and condemn us to always be addicts, insist we can never really recover and this keeps their budget going. Progressive recovery is a way of living life sober and working on our spiritual growth in communion with God, not merely a moneymaking business.

1 Peter 1:13
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

True quality recovery from the evil effects of drug addiction is a lifelong healing process that requires honest hard work and promotes wholistic health. It is not a quick cheap easy fix. Recovery is a dynamic living process with different stages of healing involving early recovery, continued mid-recovery and a complete cure from chemical dependency as we work on the deeper related issues and underlying problems in our lives that turned us into drug addicts.

Isaiah 38:16 ~ “O LORD, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.”

Many people involved in recovery over-complicate this simple 12-Steps Program designed for people who have already complicated their lives with the plagues of drug addiction and its related issues. In our recovery, we aim to sober up, work on our recovery program and continue to work on our spiritual growth as humane Christians. We seek to simplify the complex, not complicate the simple. True refinement seeks simplicity. Above all, keep it simple!

In this essay, we will focus on alcohol addiction as alcohol is an addictive liquid drug and the alcoholic is an addict!

Romans 13:13 ~ “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”

Drug addiction is a progressive disease that usually ends in ‘jails, institutions or death’. In response, our recovery should be progressive in order to combat drug addiction, help others heal and seek liberty from its evil effects. We need a progressive recovery for a progressive disease. It’s that simple!

We advocate unity in the recovery community, direct community action by helping others and seek true spiritual liberty for all of us. It involves helping others all we can with available resources around us on a day-to-day basis. It could be as simple as giving someone a pencil for someone’s recovery journal, guiding a newcomer to a meeting, teaching a basic literacy class, visiting a sick one in the hospital or attending a peace demonstration. The general ideal is to transform our mentality, our behavior and our way of living as new creatures in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

For newcomers, memorize and study closely the 12-Steps in order as one step leads to another in a logical progression. Ask for the help of a good sponsor, smart guide or a trusted sober friend who has a solid working knowledge of the 12- Steps and general recovery principles. Keep a pen, notepad and dictionary handy when studying the 12-Steps and other educational literature. Do not depend on a sponsor to keep you sober. You must work your own program to the best of your ability in harmony with God’s will.

In Steps 1, 2 and 3, we admit powerlessness over addiction, believe God can restore us to sanity, and made the decision to turn ourselves over to God’s Will. Steps 4 and 5 require an honest self-inventory and confessing our sins to God, to ourselves and another humane being. Steps 6 and 7 help us expose our character defects and shortcomings as we ask God to help us remove them from our lives. Steps 8 and 9 require us to make a list of people we have harmed, then, to make direct amends to those we have wronged without causing harm to anyone. Steps 10, 11 and 12 are key maintenance Steps that encourage continued inventory, correcting mistakes we have made as soon as possible and conscious contact with God as we carry the Message to other suffering addicts. The 12-Steps are the core of the entire program. HOW the program works is to be Honest, Open and Willing to change, grow and mature in life. It ain’t brain surgery!

Jeremiah 33:6 ~ “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”

The 12-Steps Program offers us basic guidelines for honest living, a healthy lifestyle and doing well in all our relations. We will now walk through the 12-Steps with brief comments as we strive to keep it simple!

-A.A. Twelve Steps Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Admit the problem to solve it, seek a real cure and overcome any denial or resistance to the truth. Denial is a real demon and many times we must bottom out and come to a sad tragic conclusion before we wake up to the truth about ourselves.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

A power greater than us is Creator God. Active addiction exhibits insane, self-destructive and suicidal behavior as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder and it is a real clinical disease. We want to live healthy lives as mature, functional and responsible humane beings.

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

Do not let the term ‘as we understood Him’ be an escape clause or loophole for negative selfish self-will running wild. There is only one Creator God of the Cosmos. We must have faith, courage and wisdom in obedience to Creator God guided by the Holy Spirit.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Many recovering addicts dread Step #4 because of a fear of facing the whole truth about themselves in all its ugliness. For a first inventory, make a short basic list of assets and liabilities, that is, both our positive and negative qualities. Do not dwell on the dark side of the past, get lost in self-pity and get stuck on stupid. Do a basic inventory, then move on to the next Step! Each time we work the 12-Steps we will do so with more and more honesty as more is revealed to us.

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

We must share our inventory with another humane being who has care, concern and compassion. Just tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We are as sick as our dark secrets, thus, we should reveal them to the light of truth in order to really heal ourselves, not merely arrest our addiction only for it to be released all over again in vicious circles of chemical dependency. We aim to rid ourselves once and for all of the inner spiritual demons of addiction!

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

Character defects include greed, gluttony, sloth, lust, jealousy and wrath. We should work on completely removing these evil influences from our individual character as they separate us from God. A lot of recovery work involves honest self-examination, working on building up a humane Christian character and becoming as honest, healthy and mature as possible!

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

We should have a proper estimate of ourselves without conceit. We need to humbly ask God while on our knees to help us get rid of our shortcomings without any reservations. Genuine humility is essential for us to advance in our spiritual growth and move forward in our progress.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Keep your list complete but concise. Be willing to mend fences with all you have harmed. Remember the past, however painful, in order to see the present in a clear light. This step involves clearing our conscience, cleaning our side of the street and establishing healthy relationships. It should be a basic list, not a long autobiography of all our sinful evil ways. We seek progress, not perfection.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Be brave and have the courage to make amends for past wrongs in a practical way in order to clean up past wreckage. If amends are not possible, then, write a list, pray over it, and ask God for forgiveness from the injured parties, then, burn it! The idea here is to get rid of any toxic garbage that drags us down with guilt, blocks our advance and threatens our continued sober recovery.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Do a conscious daily inventory, learn from past mistakes, do no wrong and when you screw up set it straight as soon as possible. Be kind, courteous and polite to all others without old ways of deceit, intimidation or manipulation. Keep a personal daily journal for your continued inventory.

11. Sought though 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.

In conscious communion with God, we speak to God in prayer, listen for Him in meditation and seek to discern His goodwill for us. Prayer creates faith, faith creates hope and hope creates love. God is love and His goodwill for us is kind, loving and beneficial. Meditation calms our spirit, clears our mind and helps us remember what we must do to better empower ourselves.

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.

We carry the Message best by setting a good personal example, helping others get into sober recovery and promoting spiritual liberty for all. The best way of telling is by doing. Cultivate your friends, stay away from fiendish fools who refuse to seek help and keep working on building up your recovery support network.

1 Peter 5:8 ~ ”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Once you have studied, worked and discussed the 12-Steps with your recovery network, then, go over them on a daily basis in order to fully incorporate them into your whole lifestyle. Maintain a healthy centered balance as a triune being in the mind-body-soul trinity. In a good life, health is the greatest wealth. We need to truly recover from our addiction, keep our toolbox handy and keep on guard to avoid sudden slips or severe relapses.

Proverbs 26:11 ~ “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.”

Those who think recovery is just staying sober and dangling birthday chips forget that it was our major character defects, personal shortcomings and individual weaknesses that got us strung out in the first place. The disease of drug addiction masks deeper personal issues we need to admit, address and work on over time with honest self-criticism, help from others and God’s amazing grace!

Sometimes a drink is just a drink. We are against all substance addiction that divides us from our true inner self, our families and our God. For us not to go back down into the ugly hell of our past addiction, we need to get down to the roots of our addiction and dig those roots out! Appreciate the natural beauty of sobriety as an essential gateway for continued recovery in order to stay on pathways leading to complete liberty.

Luke 4:18-19 ~ “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Our primary purpose is to win our liberty from the evil effects of addiction: broken homes, wrecked families, abandoned children, lost jobs, homeless refugees, crowded prisons, sad suicides and many other plagues, problems and disorders.

Drug addiction is a worldwide problem but there is also a growing worldwide recovery movement that advocates, promotes and practices sane and sober living. Remember: recovery is free if you willing to work hard on an honest program by living sober, taking care of your health and helping others. The truth is that many people have recovered, have converted their lives to Jesus Christ of Nazareth and live out their lives in sanity and sobriety liberated from the old insanity of the drunken dope fiend world. Free at last enjoying the blessings of liberty!

We need to love God, stay straight and help others as true believers, not make believes. To maintain our progressive recovery takes courage, hard work and wisdom. It can be the hardest battle you ever fought, but you will have the greatest victory. We believe we can and do recover one day at a time with visions for a bright future free from substance addiction.

Philippians 4:8 ~ “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Keep your own counsel in study, prayer and meditation; build up a strong recovery support network and always remember to keep in communion with God. It was God's amazing grace that saved us, not lone individual efforts. As we progress in our recovery we need to open up and go out into the real world in order to help make it a safe, sane and humane world for all of us, especially our children and youth.

This whole wicked world needs recovery from its many evils. There have always been wars and rumors of wars. Many of our well-known government, business and civic leaders have obvious character defects whose decisions have negative impacts on our personal lives. Many lost souls in the streets live with fear, danger and great insecurity. People are dying who could be saved. Help to make it a better world for all of us! Change!

As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

As the Serenity Prayer says, we must have the courage to change the things we can, including the cruel social conditions of poverty, oppression and suffering. It is these sick social conditions that make us want to vainly escape from them and hide away in the drug addict’s deadly and dangerous lifestyle. Thus, we must ultimately transform these social conditions as a key part of our whole progressive recovery. After all, we are the direct results of the connected social conditions in the real world, not freaks of nature.

The Complete Serenity Prayer:“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference. Living ONE DAY AT A TIME; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen!” ~ By Reinhold Neibuhr ~

John 8:32 ~ "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

@ The Salvation Army ‘Center of Hope’ ~ 1200 North ‘B’ Street ~
Sacramento, California {95814}

CASA 12-Steps Yahoo Group=
CASA 12-Steps Program Blog=


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