The Twelve Steps

"The Twelve Step program of AA provides a practical program for accessing Spiritual power in dealing with day-to-day human life. A formula for integrating the Spiritual into the physical. Even though some of the steps, as originally written, contain shaming and abusive wording, the Twelve Step process and the ancient Spiritual principles underlining it are invaluable tools in helping the individual being start down, and stay on, a path aligned with Truth.

It is out of the Twelve Step Recovery movement that our understanding of the dysfunctional nature of civilization has evolved. It is out of the Alcoholic Recovery movement that the term "Codependent" has emerged."

Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The first step is about recognizing that I am powerless to control life and other people and that the delusion that I "should" be in control has caused me a lot of pain and suffering.

I can not stop someone else from drinking or eating or smoking or killing themselves. I can not make someone else love me or hear me or see themselves clearly if they don't want to do those things. I can not change the past or control the future. In the case of addictions, it also means that I am powerless to control my addiction by myself, out of my own will power. The second part of the 1st step is about recognizing that my life is a mess because I have been doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.

***

When I first came to 12 step recovery I was appalled to think that I had to admit that I was powerless. Then when they told me that I had a disease I was relieved to think that all those years of insane behavior were not my fault. I still had problems with powerlessness and surrender however. To surrender meant to be a loser in my mind. What helped me was when someone told me that surrender didn't mean I was a loser, it just meant that I was smart enough to join the winning side.

"We are powerless out of human ego-self to get out of this quagmire. That is the bad news. It is also the good news.

Once you let go enough times, once you becoming willing to go to any length, to do whatever it takes, once you become willing to make healing the number one priority in your life, then you will be guided all the way. You will get the tools you need when you need them. You will get the help you need when you need it. You will have Loving, supportive people come into your life when you need them. You will start making rapid, discernible progress in your healing transformation.

On the other side of powerlessness is all the power in the Universe. On the other side of powerlessness is freedom, happiness, and peace within. On the other side of powerlessness is Joy and Love!

The answer is to stop fighting it, to surrender to the Spiritual Forces at work. Surrender to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you do deserve to be happy and Loved."

Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The second step says while I am not in control of this life process there is a Higher Power, a Force, that is - and that Force is on my side.

When I first came to the program I would not even use the word God - and thought that these people must be a bunch of religious fanatics. I wanted nothing to do with God because I had been Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally abused in childhood with a concept of God that was vengeful and punishing. I had my sexuality abused by a shame based religion that taught me that God would send me to burn in hell forever for even thinking about sex.

Is it any wonder that I didn't want to surrender to God as I understood 'him.'

I could however relate to "The Force is with you." That resonated in my being. So I started to try to find a concept of a Higher Power that could possibly love me and be on my side.

"I had to start trying to find a concept of a Higher Power who could Love me even though I was an imperfect human. If my Creator is judging me then who am I not to judge myself? On the other hand if the Goddess Loves me unconditionally then who am I not to Love myself? And if the God / Goddess / Great Spirit / Universal Force Truly Loves me then everything has to be happening for reasons that are ultimately Loving.

The more I came to believe and trust - what some place deep inside of me I could feel, could remember, was the Truth - that all of the pieces of this puzzle of life fit together perfectly, and that there are no accidents, no coincidences, no mistakes, the more I was able to accept and Love myself and others. And the more I was able to trust the process, myself, and my Higher Power.

I learned that even though there are things that feel like mistakes, that even though life sometimes feels like punishment, that those feelings are not the Truth. I learned that my emotional truth was being dictated by my subconscious perspectives of life, by the definitions of life that had been imposed on me as a child, by the subconscious attitudes that I had adopted because of the emotional traumas I had experienced as a child.

Perspective is a key to Recovery. I had to change and enlarge my perspectives of myself and my own emotions, of other people, of God and of this life business. Our perspective of life dictates our relationship with life. We have a dysfunctional relationship with life because we were taught to have a dysfunctional perspective of this life business, dysfunctional definitions of who we are and why we are here.

It is kind of like the old joke about three blind men describing an elephant by touch. Each one of them is telling his own Truth, they just have a lousy perspective. Codependence is all about having a lousy relationship with life, with being human, because we have a lousy perspective on life as a human.

The only way that I was able to make significant progress in the process of stopping self-judgment and getting rid of the toxic shame was to become conscious of the larger perspective. When I started to believe that maybe a Higher Power, a Universal Force, existed which was Truly All-Powerful and Unconditionally Loving then life started to become a lot easier and more enjoyable. Then I could start to see that the "accidents" and "coincidences" are really miracles. That the "mistakes" are really opportunities for growth."

Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The third step says that if we surrender thinking we have to be in control and open up to receiving guidance from a Higher Power we will get help and guidance.

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Working the third step is all about taking action. Once I decide to try this new way of life in which I believe there is a Higher Power that Loves me - then I need to start taking action based on that belief. I need to align my will with the will of a Loving Universal Force. There is nothing wrong with will power, or self-will. It is self-will pointed in the wrong direction that is destructive. Once we admit powerlessness out of ego-self then we start accessing power out of Spiritual Self. Spiritual Self is the part of us that knows we are connected to everyone and everything.

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I need to take action that is positive and Loving for myself. That can mean making my bed in the morning or washing the dishes - as well as going to meetings or looking up a web page about healing. Any action that I take that is Loving towards myself is working the third step and aligning my will with the will of a Higher Power, a God-Force, Goddess Energy, Great Spirit that Loves me Unconditionally and always has.

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In the first step we recognize that what we have been doing is not working - the second step tells us that there is another way to do things. The third step is about taking the risk of trying that new way.


Twelve Step Principles & Codependence

"The Twelve Step program of AA provides a practical program for accessing Spiritual power in dealing with day-to-day human life. A formula for integrating the Spiritual into the physical. Even though some of the steps, as originally written, contain shaming and abusive wording, the Twelve Step process and the ancient Spiritual principles underlining it are invaluable tools in helping the individual being start down, and stay on, a path aligned with Truth."

Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Twelve Step Principles & tools include:

Self-Honesty, willingness, Acceptance, letting go, surrender,
Faith, Trust, honesty, Humility, Patience, openness, Courage,
Responsibility, Action, Forgiveness, compassion, Love.

"A "state of Grace" is the condition of being Loved unconditionally by our Creator without having to earn that Love. We are Loved unconditionally by the Great Spirit. What we need to do is to learn to accept that state of Grace.

The way we do that is to change the attitudes and beliefs within us that tell us that we are not Lovable. And we cannot do that without going through the black hole. The black hole that we need to surrender to traveling through is the black hole of our grief. The journey within - through our feelings - is the journey to knowing that we are Loved, that we are Lovable.

It is through willingness and acceptance, through surrender, trust, and faith, that we can begin to own the state of Grace which is our True condition."

Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

There are two points of powerlessness with Codependence.

The first is intellectual - when we first realize that there is something that's not working and that maybe we have to change, to learn a different way.

The second comes after we have intellectually learned what boundaries and healthy behavior are but we cannot stop acting out the old patterns in our closest relationships - we watch ourselves saying things we don't want to say, and doing things we don't want to do.

This is when it is necessary to do the emotional healing.

Here is my version of the initial steps from these two different levels.

Intellectual Steps

Step 1. I acknowledge and accept that I am powerless out of ego-self to control my human life experience, and that the delusion that I should be in control has caused pain and suffering in my life.

Step 2. Came to remember that I am a Spiritual Being who is part of the ONENESS that is the Unconditionally Loving, ALL-Powerful Universal Force, and that believing in that Force can help to bring balance, harmony, and sanity to my life.

Step 3. Made a decision to ask the Force to help me align my will, my actions, and my life with the Universal Power.

Emotional Steps

Step 1. Admitted that I am powerless to substantially change the learned behavioral defenses and dysfunctional attitudes from childhood until I deal with the emotional wounds of my childhood experience.

Step 2. Came to remember that I am a Spiritual Being who is part of the ONENESS that is the Unconditionally Loving, ALL-Powerful Universal Force, and that believing in that Force can help to bring balance, harmony, and sanity to my life.

Step 3. Made a decision to ask the Force to help me face the terror of healing my emotional wounds.

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