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

Hope as a Principle

Hope as a Principle

Hope is not a foundation that I build my life around.  This elusive principle was not a tool that I used in times of difficulty.  Growing up in dysfunction and becoming an alcoholic encapsulated hopelessness rather than hope…

Step 6: There’s a pony in there somewhere

Step 6: There’s a pony in there somewhere

Step Six of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character” (Alcoholics Anonymous p. 59). With a few years of Buddhist practice under my belt, my initial response to Step Six is, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Character defects, my…

Fundamentalism’s Foibles & Follies

Fundamentalism’s Foibles & Follies

Eighty years after the initial publication of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and two decades into the new millennium, AA has never been more divided…

When Acceptance is Not the Answer

When Acceptance is Not the Answer

In traditional AA circles, one of the most frequently cited stories in the back of the Big Book is “Acceptance Is the Answer” (407-420). What is more or less its main point is apt: Focusing on ourselves is a far better recovery strategy than trying to control what other…

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…