The articles contained in this section involve a discussion of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

A Fellowship of Bleeding Deacons?

A Fellowship of Bleeding Deacons?

In the previous essay, I described the increasingly negative interactions between my fellowship’s Phone Meeting Intergroup and me in the first two years of my recovery, after 20 years away from the program.  I had initially been impressed by their services because of the quality and variety of the…

What No One Told me About Acceptance

What No One Told me About Acceptance

What I initially heard at my first AA meeting was useful, I would even argue, necessary for me to take at face value in order to see the harsh reality of my psychological dependence on alcohol to cope with a life that often felt painful. Acceptance was the answer to…

Simplified Secular Sobriety

Simplified Secular Sobriety

I have been sober for over twenty-six years, an atheist who doesn’t believe in the existence of a deity, having developed a much more natural secular sobriety. But if I could travel back in time with this experience and attend my early sobriety A.A. meetings, what would…

The Separate Sense of Self and Addiction

The Separate Sense of Self and Addiction

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggests that “selfishness – self-centeredness” (p.62) is the root cause of the alcoholic’s problems. That they are “driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity.” (1…

Twelve Empowering Steps

Twelve Empowering Steps

With AA’s suggested Twelve Steps, as with everything else in AA, we can take what we like and leave the rest, but what if removing what we feel we need to remove is like pulling on a single thread that causes the whole tapestry to become unraveled…

Traditions

Traditions

When I returned to a 12 Step recovery group four years ago, 30 years after walking into the fellowship’s rooms for the first time, both the program and I had changed. Phone meetings made up a large proportion of all fellowship meetings, affording me the opportunity for recovery in…

A Heathen Looks at the 12 Steps

A Heathen Looks at the 12 Steps

Why does Refuge Recovery exist? Why is there SMART? SOS? Addiction counselors? Women in Sobriety? Secularized versions of AA’s 12 Steps? Why is there an Alan Carr book on quitting drinking…

AA and Special Needs

AA and Special Needs

While AA as such has always made a point of including all who suffer from alcoholism, there have been instances where the inclusivity hasn’t always worked well, either because of human limitations of our members or because of some aspects of our program which may not serve certain subgroups…

Spiritual Fitness

Spiritual Fitness

Throughout my recovery, one of the ways I have measured my spiritual fitness has been whether I am able to have fun without drinking, especially in situations where other people are having drinks. In the past two weekends I had two very different experiences at drinking parties. Nothing drastic had…

Powerlessness and Other Stuff

Powerlessness and Other Stuff

Could a real alcoholic who had just consumed six drinks refuse the next one if a gun was held to his head, and he was told it would be used, if he reached for drink number seven…