twelve steps

When the Mahoneys suggested I familiarize myself with the 12 step program (developed by Alcoholics Anonymous) I was a little skeptical. But also desperate enough to try anything they asked. And, surprisingly, it's turned out to be very interesting. Here are the basic 12 steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

These were inspired by a group focused on spiritual renewal (nothing to do with alcohol), which explains its spiritual emphasis. I really like the way it starts with us embracing powerlessness. And moves directly to faith in God's power.

I've also noticed that 12 step groups work in a way that seems like an answer to several of my recent questions. They offer healing, but not through money or human power. They have no big facilities or people with professional expertise. And it's all free. Yet they offer real healing for some of the most desperate and sick people, often people who doctors have not been able to help. How do they do it? Mostly just through words. The encouragement and counsel and attention of other people who are also being healed of their addictions. It's obvious (and also made explicitly clear from the very beginning) that the healing power comes from God.

And it also requires faith from the person coming for help. I've seen that as an important aspect of Jesus' helping that is not seen in most ministries, including here. Jesus way of physical healing called forth the spiritual in people, which was what was most important to him.

That's my initial impressions; very intriguing.