Working the Program vs Living the Program
Understanding that doing step work and going through the questions doesn’t translate to living the program is an important part of this new found life that the steps offer.
So often I’ve heard… “But I’ve done the steps”, “I don’t understand why my life hasn’t changed”.
Here is how it works, the steps are a guide to the spiritual principals of the program. With each step comes a certain principal and with each principal comes a new way to live.
Step One: I have no control.
Step Two: Need something greater than me to help.
Step Three: Hand over control to that power.
Step Four: Identify and get honest about the shame, guilt and resentments.
Step Five: Tell God and someone else about the shame, guilt and resentments.
Step Six: Refer to Step Four, identify defects that cause the behaviour.
Step Seven: Humbly, ask God to remove them.
Step Eight: Refer to Step Four, List of people we have hurt, damaged and wronged.
Step Nine: Make amends to said people without causing further harm.
Step Ten: Continue Step Four Principals, when we are wrong admit it.
Step Eleven: Pray to ask, Meditate to Listen. Guidance.
Step Twelve: Pass it on.
“The Twelve Principles of Narcotics
The seeds of the miracles in NA are found in the following principles.
- Hope gives us something positive to look for and move towards. We can admit our need for help as we begin to share in our common welfare.
- Surrender to the things we cannot change through our own power is a way to get on with our lives. We seek a Higher Power of our own understanding and that becomes our ultimate guide and source of strength.
- Acceptance allows evasion and denial to give way to reality and peace. With the care of God, we are granted the power to welcome new people and new ideas into our lives.
- Honesty is the ability to match up our insides with our outsides. It allows what we don’t care about to go away and what we really want to appear and develop in our lives.
- Open mindedness is our bridge to the experience of others. It is the passageway out of loneliness into the life of the Spirit.
- Willingness to try is the beginning of doing our part. However grand or humble that might be, it is a state of readiness replacing depression and anxiety.
- Faith is the evidence of our trust in God. True faith is the result of surrender coupled with experience that God can and will do for us if we ask for help.
- Tolerance is knowing the other person has the same spirit in them as us and being curious about what that spirit is trying to do.
- Patience is taking time for things to move into place without force or breakage.
- Humility is knowing the importance of doing our part well and being open to the many forms of help required for a full and abundant life.
- Unconditional love is given where we sense our spirit in another human being.
- Sharing and caring is the active and passive forms of love that keeps us alive and allowing God to use us as instruments.”
-sourced from NA.org
Living life on life’s terms isn’t always an easy task. The idea that all our problems end when we stop acting out is false. The real work begins when we put down the substance or the behaviour. Understanding the situation we find ourselves in, is important.
One of the greatest aspects of addiction is this, we have a body that cannot handle substances but the flip side is; we have a mind that can’t handle reality. The problem is not that we use substances, the problem is that we can’t stop using substances.
Another vital key to recovery is a belief in God. The program of AA speaks of “a God of your own understanding”. I don’t understand how it can be left to us to decide what God is?
With all the problem thinking that happens in addiction, who are we to decide what’s good for us when we have been caught in a self-destructive cycle. Our decision making ability has been compromised. We are in no state to make decisions like that..
There needs to be a REAL and tangible spiritual experience for this program and for those principals to work in our lives.
For without the changes we are doomed to fail.